Authorities arrested 46 people in a crackdown on carjackings and violent robberies that have plagued parts of south Minneapolis.

Officers recovered 15 firearms and 12 stolen vehicles — six of which were occupied when they were seized, according to a news release from the Minneapolis Police Department. The operation, which took place over three days last week, resulted in 69 felony-level charges.

The effort comes as crime has spiked in the Twin Cities, following the George Floyd protests in May.

In 2020, Minneapolis had 405 carjackings — a 301% increase from 2019, according to the release.

The joint operation, conducted by the MPD, Hennepin County Sheriff's Office Violent Offender Task Force and the State Patrol, included "probable cause charges" of carjacking, drugs, weapon violations, auto theft and fleeing police officers.

The State Patrol provided air support for the sting, explaining why many people on social media were wondering why helicopters were circling over parts of the city. The operation took place Tuesday through Thursday.

Authorities performed a similar operation a few months ago.

"We promised our residents at that time that if necessary, we would run this public safety detail again," Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said in the release. "We continued to watch the data and listened to our residents. As you can see from these numbers, the need was there. The Minneapolis Police Department, and our law enforcement partners, continue to be committed to addressing violent crime that has impacted parts of this city."

Authorities say people can protect themselves by parking in well-lit areas, being aware of their surroundings, equipping cars with anti-theft devices, locking vehicle doors while driving and not stopping for those who appear to be stranded on the road.

If a driver comes across someone on the side of the road, they should pass, pull over in a safe area and call for help.

Alex Chhith • 612-673-4759