MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The city of Minneapolis announced a new initiative to fight violent crimes Friday — and it involves the mayor’s office, police department and county attorney’s office.
Violent crime arrests are up 13 percent, but the Minneapolis Police Department says those crimes have increased more than five percent since last year. That includes homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assault.
Police and the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office made it clear Friday: violent crimes will not be tolerated.
MPD created what it calls a “violent crimes investigations team” in the last week.
The six most-experienced sergeants track patterns of crime that have occurred in the city and the connect dots to prevent crime before it happens.
Police Chief Janeé Harteau says a majority of the shootings and homicides are not random; the suspects and victims usually know each other.
But the victims do not cooperate, which leads to street justice and more violence. One of the biggest problems also appears to be repeat offenders.
“In the first ten months of this year, 526 individuals have been arrested in incidents where a gun was recovered,” Harteau said. “Seventeen of those individuals have been arrested more than once this year with a gun. If you add up arrests of the 526 individuals, they total 6,271 arrests in the last 15 years.”
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman has also assigned a special prosecutor to work specifically with the new team. He says better coordination means better results.
“I think this team is going to give us even better information, so we can do even better prosecutions and take these gun totters off the street,” Freeman said,
Freeman says the penalty for a felon in possession carries a mandatory minimum of about five years.
But he adds that judges in Hennepin County do not always sentence defendants to that full mandatory minimum. And sometimes suspects are not convicted due to lack of evidence.