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'There's an uneasiness:" Minneapolis health care workers concerned for their safety

MINNEAPOLIS – Some Minneapolis health care workers say they don’t feel safe coming to work because of an increase in crime in the surrounding area.

On Friday, Minneapolis police said they have seen a rise in robberies and carjackings in the 3rd Precinct in recent weeks. The precinct includes several major healthcare facilities like Children’s Minnesota and Abbott Northwestern Hospital.

“I used to park on the street, I was, you know, a little more easy on that. But now I try to park closest to the door, but even then, stuff’s happening in our parking ramps, even coming into the emergency room, just walking into our buildings there’s, you know, an uneasiness,” said Abbott Northwestern nurse Angela Bucchetti.

Since mid-July, two Children’s Minnesota employees have been held at gunpoint outside the hospital. Stray bullets also hit the windows of the main lobby. No one was hurt during the incidents.

“I know many of my colleagues are scared coming and going from work,” Children’s Minnesota Emergency Room Nurse Tracey Dittrich said.

She wishes the emergency room entrance had a 24/7 security officer. She also said employees aren’t always timely notified when security situations arise.

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CBS

Safety is a top concern for the Minnesota Nurses Association, which recently voted to authorize what could be the largest nurses strike in United States history.

“Even patients and visitors have expressed the need. They’re scared to come here, and that’s affecting our nurses, you know, but our patients as well. Their loved ones don’t want to come here anymore because it’s happening on a day-to-day basis and that’s a big concern of ours,” Bucchetti said.

Allina Health gave this statement to WCCO:

Providing a safe and secure environment for our patients and staff is of the highest importance to Allina Health. We are aware of the recent safety concerns and share them with our community. Over the past year, we’ve added bike patrols and ambassador security representatives. Allina Health has invested in a comprehensive security strategy that includes increasing our security presence inside and outside our properties throughout the day and night. We also have regular connections with our local law enforcement agencies and community partners.

Allina Health said it offers security escorts to accompany patients, visitors and staff to and from their vehicles 24 hours a day. It also has a 24/7 Security Operations Center and a valet service at Abbott Northwestern Hospital’s main entrance from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, for a fee.

Children’s Minnesota gave this statement to WCCO:

Children’s Minnesota is committed to the safety of our staff, patients and community, which is paramount to our mission to champion the health needs of all families. In recent weeks, we have experienced several security incidents around our Minneapolis hospital campus which have raised concerns about increased violence that has become a threat to our community. Our efforts to improve our level of safety are ongoing and continuous. We are also committed to the betterment of the communities in which we live and work.

Children’s Minnesota said it’s actively working with local leaders to improve safety and health in the community, including gun violence prevention initiatives. It said some of the steps taken include the installation of 30 new security cameras, shatter-resistant film on lower-level windows, limited entry and exit points, and security escorts within a two block radius.

“Children’s Minnesota has robust security practices which we continue to improve. We have an imperative to do everything we can to stop any further increase in violence,” said hospital officials.

Minneapolis Police provided the following safety tips:

  • Keep car doors locked at all times (There have been confirmed cases where this has stopped the robbery).

  • Scrolling and using your phone while sitting in your car makes you an easy target. Stay aware of your surroundings.

  • Have a multi-factor authentication for money apps (bank accounts, Venmo, PayPal, CashApp) on your phone.

  • Plan ahead, notify others of your ETA.

  • If you think someone is following you while you’re in your car, keep driving. Go to a safe place such as a police station or open business.

  • Be a good witness. Try to remember license plate numbers, vehicle and suspect description, and direction they fled.

  • Call 911 to report these incidents. If you see something, say something to 911. Resources and personnel will be better deployed this way. 

  • Get to know your neighbors. Start or re-energize your block club so that information sharing is immediate and accurate.


Source: CBS Minnesota

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