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With 65 Shooting Victims This Year, Mpls. Sees Spike In Gun Violence

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Incidents involving guns are increasing across Minneapolis.

Since the beginning of the year, more than 65 people have been shot -- that's a more than 90 percent increase over this time last year.

More than half of the gun violence took place in north Minneapolis.

To combat the problem, Minneapolis police are using new technology and additional officers.

Minneapolis began seeing a serious increase in gun violence in 2014, that's when the Minneapolis Police Department began rolling out additional units and technology to help identify people who perpetrate gun violence.

"Gun violence happens anywhere," said DeVon Nolen, northside mother of four.

Gun violence has changed the lives of people from all over Minneapolis.

From a road rage incident near Uptown, where a woman was shot four times for honking her horn at someone who cut her off, to a woman shot in a north Minneapolis strip mall while walking to a sporting goods store.

"To ride by our public library and see yellow tape, what does that do to the human psyche?" Nolen said.

She says the gun violence is becoming too common.

Just two nights ago, a running gun battle down Newton Avenue North ended on her door step.

"Even with my incident, despite the fact that we hear gun shots every day and sirens every day, it was actually at my front steps this time," Nolen said.

She believes this epidemic is something that should alarm everyone, no matter where you live.

"This is a public health crisis," Nolen said.

The Minneapolis Police Department is working around the clock to deal with the issue.

MPD's Violent Crimes Investigation Team has six of the department's most experienced and senior investigators tracking all shooting cases where a victim is hit by gunfire.

MPD's weapons unit officers work proactively to identify the source of illegal gun distribution and chronic gun offenders.

"Obviously, we are in an area where there are lots of challenges...but we got to get at the root cause," Nolen said. "We got to figure out how these guns are getting here."

MPD is also using a state-of-the-art technology that matches ballistics through a national database. It's a tool that helps investigators who are linking gun crimes.

But police can't do it alone.

Many of the shootings involve people who know one another or are in a dispute over something.

Police and community members say if people learn to solve their conflicts without violence, the shootings will go down.

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