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'Crime Is Out Of Control': Minneapolis Officials Address Uptick In Violence

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) - The number of people killed in Minneapolis is up 95% from this time last summer. 39 victims have lost their lives since the beginning of the year.

It's becoming more common than not to hear about a shooting in Minneapolis. More people have been shot this year compared to the past five.

Not to mention homicides, the most recent of which took place earlier this week.

"Crime is out of control," said Rich Walker Sr., director of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis.

"Criminals feel like they can do whatever they want to do. They know the police department is at a vulnerable state right now with staffing levels and with morale," Walker Sr. said.

The city council addressed what's happening with gun violence during their Friday meeting.

"A total of 32 victims of gunshot wounds in last two weeks through Monday, July 27," Mayor Jacob Frey said.

Frey and police chief Medaria Arradondo provided the council with some information as to why, calling it a confluence of so many things plus, "We know from history as well as what's happening through the nation, following instances of unrest there often are upticks," Frey said.

The chief said one way the department is addressing it, is to shift some resources.

That's to answer 911 calls and to cover the 33 officers who have left since the death of George Floyd and more going on medical leave.

Walker Sr. said that shuffling of personnel resulted in the elimination of the violent criminal apprehension team.

"They're going after the worst of the worst. When you have to deplete that unit to put them back on the street to cover the holes left by cops who have been traumatically affected by the events of Memorial Day, it has an adverse reaction," Walker Sr. said.

He says officers are still responding with integrity and professionalism but admits proactive policing has slowed.

"Cops are relatively reserved right now. They're answering their calls but they're not going that extra mile," Walker Sr. said.

The department also canceled the academy scheduled for August, impacting 34 people who had an interest in a career with Minneapolis Police Department. The police department says they can't plan for an academy, not knowing what their budget will be.

The mayor was unavailable to comment on crime the past two days.

Assistant chief Mike Mjos said, "Crime trends fluctuate over time. We study the crime patterns weekly and adjust enforcement efforts accordingly. The current trend has seen an increase in violent crime, specifically aggravated assaults and robberies. Our proactive enforcement has focused on these two areas in recent weeks. Officers have made many arrests, recovered a significant number of guns and solved several high profile incidents."

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