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Mpls. 'doing everything we can' to respond to shootings

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Mayor Hodges, chief Arradondo
Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges addresses the media alongside police chief Mederia Arradondo.
Peter Cox | MPR News file

Minneapolis and its police force are focusing resources downtown in response to a series of non-fatal shootings, Mayor Betsy Hodges said Thursday.

The most recent shooting was Tuesday evening when a 44-year-old man was struck by a bullet police say was meant for someone else.

"We are doing everything we can," Hodges said, "pulling the levers we have and trying to find new levels to pull to reduce gun violence and to reduce violence in the city."

Citywide, violent crime in Minneapolis has increased slightly. However, the number of people wounded by gun fire is down by 21 percent compared to the same time last year.

Gunfire downtown is bucking that trend. The most recent available data show that 31 people have been wounded by guns in the First Precinct, which includes downtown. At this time last year, bullets had struck 18 people.

Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said people will notice a very visible presence of officers this weekend.

"That ranges anything from our bike response team officers, to our mounted patrol officers, to our foot beat officers," he said. "You're going to see a lot more visible uniform presence in downtown Minneapolis."

Hodges made her remarks at a conference for Cities United, an organization of mayors looking for solutions to violence in their cities. Arradondo also appeared in a panel discussion at the conference. The group formed in 2011 and this year is holding its annual meeting in Minneapolis. 

The conference's focus is to reduce violence among young African American men and boys as well as other young people of color.

Many of the mayors and former mayors in Cities United have seen problems similar to the ones Minneapolis faces.

"It's not only about what's going on in Minneapolis. But it's about what's happening in all of these cities across the United States of America," former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said. "In many of our cities, unfortunately, they are seeing upticks in crime: big cities, medium cities, medium size and small."

Minneapolis has benefited from being a member of Cities United, Hodges said. 

She said the organization helped the city start a hospital-based intervention system, which focuses resources on mostly young men who have been the victims of violent crime and are part of a group like a gang.

The city has a partnership with Hennepin County to help people find recourses and help their "group make different decisions moving forward so that the cycle of retaliatory violence doesn't continue."