Authorities in Minneapolis said they made dozens of arrests in a three-day effort to crack down on carjackings and street violence.
Police Chief Medaria Arradondo and Hennepin County Sheriff Dave Hutchinson said they pooled resources and enlisted a Minnesota State Patrol helicopter for the effort.
The initiative resulted in 41 felony arrests, recovery of seven stolen vehicles and seizure of five guns and a pipe bomb. There were nine misdemeanor arrests, as well.
“We've heard loud and clear from our communities, from our victims, enough is enough,” Arradondo said.
His department has received more than 390 reports of carjackings in the city this year, more than triple the number from the year before.
Hutchinson noted that the helicopter drew a lot of attention in the city, and that some people may have considered the sound a nuisance. But he said the aerial help was a key to the initiative to battle a wave of violent car thefts.
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“I understand the inconvenience for people,” Hutchinson said. “I don’t like hearing them over my house. It happens once in a while. But it’s a tool to keep people safe. It's a tool that if we chase people, it's less likely to get people hurt. So our goal, regardless of anything, 100 percent Chief Rondo and I agree on this, is public safety."
Authorities said that prevention is still key, and urged people to take steps to protect themselves, including:
Park in well-lit areas.
Always be aware of your surroundings.
Equip your car with an anti-theft device.
Lock your doors while driving.
Don’t stop for apparently stranded strangers along the road. Note their location and pull over in a safe place once you’ve passed to call for help.
Look for people in the area that you are stopping or parking. If you’re not comfortable, consider driving away and parking elsewhere and call 911.
The joint effort also comes just weeks after the city of Minneapolis approved a $500,000 effort to enlist more law enforcement to help Minneapolis police, depleted by retirements and the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd. The city has been hoping to get help from sheriff’s deputies and transit police officers.
The sheriff said the cooperative effort with his department’s violent offender task force was temporary, but that his department is talking with the city about a longer term joint services agreement.