By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minneapolis voters elected Major Jacob Frey for a second term, and he is leading a city that has faced riots, a pandemic, and an exodus of police officers during a surge in crime.

Two weeks after winning re-election, Frey spoke one-on-one with WCCO’s Esme Murphy. He called the election a turning point for the city, and he says he’s convinced that he’ll be able to work better with the newly-elected city council. He also insisted that the city is safe.

“Minneapolis is a safe city, and simultaneously we are dealing with a very significant increase in crime, and specifically violent crimes,” Frey said. “Let’s be very clear, that is not acceptable in any way, shape or form.”

(credit: CBS)

When asked what he would tell people afraid to go to Minneapolis, the mayor said that the city needs “safety beyond policing” and real police reform.

But when pressed about what’s going to change right now, Frey said the police department is recruiting new officers. Still, he acknowledged that the new officers won’t likely hit the streets until next year.

The mayor says the city, which is currently down 300 officers, is getting help from other departments, the FBI and the ATF. He says resources are being concentrated in key areas.

“We are seeing around 90% of the gun violence focused on around five neighborhoods in our whole city,” Frey said.

The city is currently getting pushback on social media over property tax increases that were recently mailed out. Some residents questioned whether they should be paying more given the state of the city.

“So much of it depends on whether the valuation of the home itself has gone up or down,” Frey said. “That’s actually not a decision we are able to make on the city level, that’s state law.”

The mayor’s overall optimistic outlook for the city shifted when he was asked about the anti-Semitic graffiti that’s appeared outside his home.

“There’s either anti-Semitic stuff plastered outside on our windows, or the post or on the doorway,” Frey said. “We will not be intimidated by that kind of garbage.”

Because Minneapolis voters approved the strong mayor amendment in the recent election, Frey will be the most powerful mayor the city has had in decades.

He hopes one of his first actions in January, when he is sworn in, is to reappoint Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo. While Frey wants Arradondo to lead the police department, the mayor said the decision is in Arradondo’s hands.

On Tuesday, WCCO sat down with the seven new members of the Minneapolis City Council. They all said they are willing and open to working with the mayor.

EXTENDED CUT

Watch an extended cut of Murphy’s interview with Frey below:

Esme Murphy