MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – It’s still early in the year, but statistics show that crime is trending up in the city of Minneapolis.

Recent data shows that the number people wounded by gunshots is up 250% from last year (Jan. 1 to Jan. 18).

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Those numbers were presented to the city council before a person was killed Thursday night in Minneapolis, and another early Friday morning.

“Everybody has a responsibility to call police, to get to know your neighbors and to talk to the kid next door,” said Don Samuels.

Former city councilmember Don Samuels said he isn’t surprised by the rise in crime. He believes the pandemic, the unrest that followed the death of George Floyd, and talk of defunding Minneapolis police are reasons why crime has increased.

Samuels is pushing for a community cohesiveness approach to battling crime. One that starts inside households and extends to city leaders.

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“We have to have a wholesome community. We need multi-strategy and not a singular approach like the current council is doing, where it’s all about police. Police have to change but we need them desperately,” said Samuels.

Samuels is part of a lawsuit against the city for a lack of police officers, saying the current numbers fall below charter requirements. The lawsuit comes at a time when rape is up 22% and robbery is up 59% compared to last year.

“Unfortunately, we are following a national trend that no one wants to be a part of,” said Sasha Cotton.

Cotton is director of the new Office of Violence Prevention for Minneapolis. She said her department is looking at national models to see what’s worked in other cities. Cotton said it will take time, but new programming and funding for community agencies will be coming this spring. She also expects police to be a part of the solution.

“We want them to be a part of the solution and interrupting violence because that hurts all of us and our communities deserve safety and peace. We believe our police department can and should be a part of those solutions,” said Cotton.

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Like Samuels, Cotton believes it will take the community working with multiple departments to bring crime down in Minneapolis.

John Lauritsen