Letter from Councilwoman Cano about Crime & Safety

Dear Community,
There has been an increase in aggravated assaults in the Ninth Ward in 2015. This is a troubling trend manifesting mostly in shootings. A couple of weeks ago, police patrolling the Midtown Phillips Neighborhood heard shots fired and responded to find Frank Penny and Erin Miller in a car, both of whom had been shot. Frank Penny was deceased and Erin Miller died from her wounds a few days later. MPD is investigating this incident and asking for the public’s help. Anyone with information is being asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. Our hearts are with the families and loved ones of the victims.
MPD is also seeking the public’s assistance in identifying a suspect or suspects in the beating death of Rebecca Anderson, who was assaulted in September and died from her injuries on November 26. The public is again being asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477
I work closely with Inspector Michael Sullivan, the leader of MPD’s Third Precinct, as well as members of Chief Harteau’s administration, Hennepin County, the City Attorney’s office, and the Mayor’s office on issues of Public Safety. I want you to be aware of some of the strategies we are implementing to address Public safety in the Ninth Ward. Some of these are ongoing and others will be new in 2016.
  • A couple weeks ago, Mayor Hodges and Chief Harteau announced a new unit in the Police Department tasked with investigating violent crime, especially shootings. Read more.
  • In partnership with the Third Precinct my office convenes a monthly Problem Properties meeting. We work with our Regulatory Services Department, Business Licensing, the Hennepin County prosecutor’s office, the City Attorney’s Office, and others as necessary to pursue holistic solutions to residences and businesses that are sources of crime in our communities.
  • Little Earth of United Tribes has created a robust, resident-led Community Building Team that is engaging community by leading walks, creating block/cluster clubs, and conducting trainings with residents.
  • The Third Precinct and my office have begun to conduct public safety meetings with businesses on East Lake Street, focusing on the Bloomington and Chicago nodes.  These will continue in the New Year, with special multilingual meetings focusing on the issues facing immigrant businesses.
  • Beat patrols, bike patrols, and directed patrols in squad cars have continued to focus on the East Lake Street area, including Midtown and East Phillips between Lake Street and the Greenway.
  • MPD’s Gang Intelligence Team has been authorized by the Chief to assist the Third Precinct in extra patrol and focused enforcement in the greater Phillips community.
  • The Community Response Team will be re-established in 2016 with new supervision and team members. They will be tasked with focused enforcement in response to community concerns related to public safety. The CRT Team members will be attending community meetings and other neighborhood functions to build community-police relationships.
  • MPD continues to deploy mobile cameras and collaborate with Metro Transit and Park police to respond to areas of community concerns related to parks and transit.
  • In 2016, we will have two extra beat officers, an increase from four to six officers. These officers work in teams of two walking the neighborhood to establish quality relationships with the local businesses and community. We are working to extend the hours that the officers are out walking the beat.
  • I am asking each of the Neighborhood Groups in the Ward to establish a Crime and Public Safety subcommittee to deal with issues that come up on an ongoing basis.
While we work on refining our policing strategies, I want you to know that I am also working on addressing root causes of crime. Addressing poverty as I work to ensure that our neighbors have workplace protections and the ability to support their families through a Citywide minimum wage increase. I support organizing, healing jutice, and community building efforts as ways to lessen social isolation. I truly appreciate the compassion, nuance, and creativity that our community brings to these difficult conversations.