MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — After a violent year in Minneapolis, Mayor Jacob Frey and one of the city’s top police officers spoke Wednesday about how they’re trying to make the city safer.

Deputy Police Chief Amelia Huffman first went over the crime numbers.

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“Over 650 people who were shot in the city of Minneapolis this year and more than 2,000 robberies including over 650 carjacking incidents,” she said.

Huffman and Frey say violent crime is the priority as they recruit for a police department that’s seen hundreds of officers leave the force.

“We’re making sure to focus a lot of the enforcement mechanisms in the area where cars are being dumped after a carjacking,” Frey said.

Huffman says MPD is “currently in the process of reshuffling our investigative resources to provide more investigative support for robbery and carjacking investigations.”

She also shared a successful enforcement effort from Tuesday night, showing a picture of three handguns that were taken from three teenagers in a car together. Huffman says they were taken into custody.

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Both Huffman and Frey spoke of the importance of accountability through the justice system, although Huffman admitted it’s frustrating when it’s the same people being arrested over and over.

“We know many of these incidents are committed by a small group of people who are highly mobile and involved in multiple incidents,” she said.

Heading into his fifth year as mayor, Frey says it will take time to roll out a public safety approach that will include what are known as “upstream” solutions in addition to policing.

“That means strong community-based organizations, investments in schools and neighborhood organizations, folks who are involved in providing mentorship to young people,” Huffman said.

Five MPD recruiting classes are scheduled to come on this year, but the department’s still looking for officers as well as community service officers, who are qualified with less experience.

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Frey is encouraging anyone to sign up and “be the change” they want to see.

David Schuman