Minneapolis police officials said Thursday that they were making steady progress against street violence that has wracked parts of the city, pointing to a recent reduction in the number of shootings and other violent episodes.
Through Tuesday, 245 people had been wounded in shootings across Minneapolis, with 170 on the city’s North Side. For the same period of 2015, the city had 173 shooting victims, police data show.
But police officials touted statistics showing that the number of shootings had decreased in recent weeks, thanks to stepped-up patrols in areas rife with gang activity and other efforts aimed at reducing street violence. Police said that crime in the area has leveled off after the department flooded certain neighborhoods with extra patrols following several recent violent episodes, including a shooting near Lucy Craft Laney Community School that occurred during the school’s open house. There were no injuries in that incident, but it left students and teachers shaken.
“We’re trending in the right direction, [although] we’re certainly not where we want to be,” Chief Janeé Harteau told reporters at a morning news conference at police headquarters downtown.
She added that police were deploying more mobile cameras in high-crime areas, and that officers had taken more than 90 guns from the streets of north Minneapolis this summer.
Police statistics show that violent crime is still up nearly 7 percent citywide, and about 15 percent in the Fourth Precinct, which covers most of north Minneapolis.
The chief’s comments came a day after a stray bullet shattered a window of Sojourner Truth Academy in the middle of the school day.
At the department’s weekly MStat meeting, where Harteau and other high-ranking commanders gather to discuss crime-fighting strategies and analyze crime trends, officials pointed out that north Minneapolis hadn’t had a shooting victim in a nearly two week span.
That streak was broken early Thursday morning, when someone opened fire on a wheelchair-bound man inside a house in the 4000 block of Bryant Avenue North, according to police. The victim, who police say had been shot at least twice before, was taken to North Memorial Medical Center, where he was expected to survive.
Many of the shootings have been gang-related, police say, part of an ongoing feud between two factions of loosely-organized street crews, whose territory is roughly divided by West Broadway Avenue in north Minneapolis.
Later on Thursday, Harteau reiterated her past statements that the police couldn’t solve the crime problem on their own, and called for greater cooperation from the community.
“I know there are plenty of moms out there who don’t want to lose their sons to prison,” Harteau said. “But you’re either going to lose them to prison or you’re going to lose them to homicide.”