Violent crime continues to climb to levels not seen in the last several years in Minneapolis. Over the weekend, the city recorded two more homicides; police are investigating.
The uptick is also happening at a time when the number of police officers on the street is declining and members of the City Council are supporting a change to the charter that would eliminate the department as we know it.
How many homicides have been reported in Minneapolis so far this year?
Minneapolis has recorded 42 homicides in the city. That number includes the killing of George Floyd by police earlier this year. Usually police killings aren't included in homicide counts, but it is included in MPR News’ tally since criminal charges have been filed.
That's more than double the number of killings in the city at this point last year — and the city is rapidly approaching the total number of homicides in the city in all of 2019. The unofficial tally for last year is 48.
However, the FBI hasn't published its annual crime statistics, which will provide the official number.
Are shootings also up?
Last Friday, Mayor Jacob Frey announced that 288 people had been shot and wounded so far this year. Frey said that adds up to 121 more people hit by gunfire than at the same period last year. Those numbers include people fatally shot as well.
What about police response times?
Frey said response time data show that it is taking officers longer to respond to certain 911 calls. And he said that's in part due to the shrinking size of the force. City officials say 111 officers are on leave. Those leaves are classified as either intermittent or continuous.
The Police Department can have 888 officers currently.
What is the status of the efforts to change the Police Department in Minneapolis?
On Wednesday the Charter Commission can decide to accept, reject or modify the proposed language of that amendment. Or they can say they won't have enough time to make a decision and delay the process for this year.
Most of the people testifying at hearings before the Charter Commission have said they want the chance to vote on such an amendment, and they support the change. But the chair of the Charter Commission says emails are running about half in favor, half opposed.
If the proposal goes forward, the City Council will hold a public hearing and a vote Monday that would likely approve the language for the November ballot.