MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Police response time data just released has some concerned the 4th Precinct protest is becoming a safety issue.

Members of Black Lives Matter have occupied the space outside the north Minneapolis Police building for 18 days now. The call for an end to that protest got even louder Wednesday as members of the black faith community started looking for a compromise.

Police say calls for violent crime in progress saw a 16-percent slowdown. That’s a 52-second longer response time for the most serious crimes, while other calls are two minutes slower.

The slowdown and complaints from neighbors have members of the faith community calling for protesters to regroup and rethink their occupation.

A portion of Plymouth Avenue is closed to traffic. From James to Newton Avenue, all you see is the camp where Black Lives Matter has occupied the 4th precinct for more than two weeks.

“People can’t access the bus properly,” Pastor David Keaton said. “They’re not being able to get access to their homes and come and go freely, and its creating congestion — not to mention the blight in the neighborhood, with the graffiti.”

Minneapolis Police say the protest has played a part in slower response times.

“I think it’s a reason, but I also want to talk about how we’ve had those other homicides,” Assistant Chief Kris Arneson said. “Those are labor intensive, and we are training recruits at this time.”

Police say officers from other precincts are answering calls on the north side, mainly because 4th precinct officers have been forced to stay inside to protect the building.

“We’re looking to keep the movement going, but we need to do something different that this occupation in our own community,” Keaton said.

Keaton says everyone wants the truth to be brought to the light, but he feels the protest has lost sight of what’s important.

“Jamar Clark is important,” he said. “The actual response and the justice system as it relates to this is important, but equally important is the resident that lives there that’s dealing with the occupation. They are equally important, and we have to be able to find a medium.”

Members of the black faith community will meet at Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church Wednesday night. They’re hoping to come up with a plan to continue the movement without the occupation of the neighborhood.

They will also discuss how to clean up the area. Some say it won’t be as long as Black Lives Matter keeps saying it’s not going anywhere.

Reg Chapman

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