MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Some Minneapolis residents are unhappy with the results of a police crackdown on carjacking in late January.
The Minneapolis Police Department and the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office announced they arrested 46 people during the three-day operation. It was welcome news for concerned citizens, including Bill Rodriguez, co-founder of Operation Safety Now. It’s a grassroots neighborhood organization that advocates for police reform and against defunding.
“Everybody is sick of the crime, no matter what part of town you live in,” Rodriguez said.
Since the announcement, 18 of the 46 have been charged with felonies. Three of those 18 are accused of stealing a car. MPD says others who were arrested had previous warrants. Still, Rodriguez is frustrated by those results.
“When you get this kind of a major announcement and you make a big deal, and then you learn two to three weeks later that it wasn’t quite what it turned out to be, that means that you start losing trust,” he said.
Drugs and weapons charges were most common among the 18, and police say 15 firearms and 12 stolen vehicles were recovered in the January crackdown.
Teacher Daniel Magnuson says hearing about the arrests made him feel safer.
“Anything that looks like MPD is addressing crime is a welcome sign to anybody living in south Minneapolis,” Magnuson said.
Even with many of those arrested out of jail, Magnuson appreciates the crackdown efforts.
“Maybe the process is helpful in terms of just interrupting crime,” he said.
When WCCO asked MPD if thieves are targeting any specific vehicles or groups of people, they replied, “There is no main victimization pattern or specific cars or people being ‘targeted,’ but rather seeking opportunistic situations in which someone is sitting in their vehicle, parked, while not paying attention, or walking to/from their car.”
To fight back against auto thefts, MPD uses bait cars, which led to 42 arrests last year. In Ramsey County, St. Paul police have made nine carjacking arrests this year, with at least seven being charged.
A spokesperson with the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office says arrests are still being investigated for possible future charges. Here is their full statement:
The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office is committed to reducing violent crime which has impacted the residents within our communities. Proactive investigative efforts conducted in partnership with other law enforcement agencies are utilized as an essential strategy in taking violent offenders off of the street.
Although this operation was primarily focused on crimes associated with carjacking, the areas in which investigators were working had seen an increase in other criminal activity. This particular operation yielded a variety of felony-level arrests, including numerous felony warrants, and has resulted in the recovery of illegal firearms from the hands of persons prohibited from possessing such weapons.
While some of the cases generated from this operation have been presented for consideration of charges by prosecutors, others remain under investigation for possible future charges. This is one of many efforts the men and women of the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office engage in to reduce violent crime and make our communities safer. The allocation of resources to investigative joint operations such as these are invaluable in preventing further victimization of our residents.
Source: CBS Minnesota