The Minnesota State Patrol and Metro Transit Police are both stepping up efforts to help curb crime in the Twin Cities and elsewhere.
The State Patrol has been working with the Minneapolis Police Department to crack down on street racing and other traffic stops around the metro area. At the same time, Metro Transit Police have been deploying different tactics to cut down on crime in and around transit and transit stations.
That strategy includes increasing security at transit stations and other facilities, using teams that specifically work with the homeless, using community outreach teams and increasing the presence of officers, uniformed and non uniformed, on transit.
“Don't be surprised to see our officers on bikes patrolling the high frequency bus routes in both downtown's as well as onboard the light rail platform stations and even onboard the trains,” said Richard Raymond, the captain of the patrol division for the Metro Transit Police.
Minnesota’s Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said state troopers have been focusing on a variety of tactics to help cut down on crime on the roads.
"We're targeting the most violent and the most dangerous offenders. It is dangerous work we've had troopers shot at, troopers involved in what really could have been horrendous crashes. And we've been lucky and very, very good,” he said.
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He said the patrol and the BCA are working to get guns off the streets, and have been finding more and more guns that have been made fully automatic with conversion devices.
Gun violence in Minneapolis and in other cities around the country have significantly surpassed pre-pandemic levels.
According to data released by the Minneapolis Police Department this week, homicides — the majority of which are committed with guns — are up 166 percent so far this year over the same time period in 2019, carjackings are up over 500 percent and the number of rounds detected are up 230 percent.
At the same time, the city has seen those trends plateau between 2021 and 2022.
Among the biggest concerns for the department is an increase in fully automatic gunfire as detected by shotspotter. Since August 2020, there have been 390 detections of fully automatic gunfire in the city, with more than 4,000 rounds detected, the MPD said.
Police point to the prevalence of auto sears or switches, which can be easily purchased online and are possible to manufacture in a 3D printer.