Crime, Law and Justice

BCA’s new unit focuses on statewide resources for curbing violent crimes

A man speaks at a podium
BCA superintendent Drew Evans spoke about the new unit, its goals, and what went into the planning of this new phase on Monday.
Anika Besst | MPR News

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has a new unit aiming to reduce violent crime across the state. 

This unit grew from an earlier effort created in 2022 that provided resources to local partners as they experienced a spike in violent crime combined with staffing shortages.  

This new unit, the Violent Crime Reduction Unit, builds on the previous initiative by supplementing the existing resources and systems, BCA superintendent Drew Evans said.  

“As we head into the summer, part of the reason we’re announcing this today ... we know that violent crime spikes in the Twin Cities in particular and across the state and this team is poised and ready to assist and supplement the great work that’s already being done,” he said.  

The previous initiative, the Violent Crime Reduction Support Initiative, focused on reducing crime through arresting repeat offenders, confiscating guns, and pulling drugs off the street.

From April 2022 through December 2023, this initiative made 1,384 arrests and confiscated 653 firearms, 145,070 fentanyl pills, 220 pounds of meth and large quantities of other drugs including cocaine, heroin and MDMA, according to the BCA.

The Minnesota Legislature approved funding last year for this unit. The funding will provide specialized staff and a new centralized location for the unit, which the BCA is in the process of finalizing now. The ongoing cost is almost $12 million, Evans said.  

By design, it is also able to provide funding to their local partners through providing backfill as the need for any positions that may arise, which BCA will reimburse.  

This new unit will include 14 BCA agents, one firearms detection K-9, two criminal intelligence analysts, two crime victim/witness coordinators and 11 task force officers from a dozen local partner agencies.

Signs about crime
The BCA shared a display of the unit’s data since its previous initiative and also since its new unit began, which was in January.
Anika Besst | MPR News

They include Ramsey and Anoka county sheriff’s offices, and the Fridley, St. Louis Park, Columbia Heights, Crystal, Bloomington, Brooklyn Park, Maplewood, North St. Paul, Roseville and Robbinsdale police departments.  

“We want the people out there, the repeat offenders, the people who don’t care who they hurt, who gets caught in the crossfire, or where their drugs end up to know that they are the ones we are targeting, that we’re going to come after them,” Jake May, special agent in charge of the unit, said. “Every member of this unit is committed to holding violent criminals accountable and making Minnesota safer.” 

These partners are centralized in the metro, but Evans explains it reflects violent crime in the state.  

“It’s a statewide team, but we know just based on the population alone and where our crime is in this state that a lot of the work will be in the Twin Cities,” Evans explained.  

Since January when the new initiative started, they have made 112 arrests and confiscated 66 firearms, 2,650 fentanyl pills and 9.2 pounds of meth.  

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