Minneapolis starts new effort to curb violent crimeby Brandt Williams, Minnesota Public Radio
Minneapolis — Minneapolis city officials blame much of the recent spike in crime on a series of drug-related robberies that turned violent.
Thursday morning, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and Police Chief Tim Dolan presented some detail on the city's latest anti-crime efforts.
Rybak laid out a plan to crack down on the violence. The focus will renew efforts to target repeat offenders, to confiscate illegal guns and to focus on programs designed to keep juveniles away from crime.
Minneapolis has seen a citywide increase in aggravated assaults in the past year and the city has already passed last year's homicide total.
Chief Dolan said this year's spike is driven primarily by an increase in robberies -- many of which have turned violent. Dolan said many of the suspects in these crimes are repeat offenders.
"Getting them hit with a heavy charge with a weapon or a federal offense is what it's going to take to get them off the street," Dolan said. "Like I say, it's a small percentage of people who are causing a large problem and that's the group we have to keep targeting."
Rybak said, despite this latest uptick, overall crime in the city has been on the decline in recent years.
"The city of Minneapolis, with our police and community have driven crime down to a 27-year low last year and we're proud of that work," Rybak said. "It also makes us doubly determined to make sure that as we see crime moving up right now, we're going to nip it in the bud."
Police officials say gang violence is responsible for nearly a quarter of all homicides this year. They say that is average for the past five years.