Mayors, police chiefs and prosecutors across the Twin Cities area of Minnesota convened Monday to zero discuss vehicle thefts and violent carjackings.
"We can't incarcerate our way out of this problem," said Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, who proposed reconstituting an 1990s-era crime prevention program that helped reduce violent crime in the "Murderapolis" era.
But friction soon emerged among the dozens of officials who packed a conference room in Eden Prairie. Some chiefs said that repeat offenders were the biggest problem, while prosecutors countered that they can only press charges in cases with sufficient evidence. Some mayors said residents and businesses in their communities are frustrated and eager for solutions as the crimes continue to confound authorities, the Star-Tribune reports.
Minneapolis police reported more than 600 attempted or successful carjackings in 2021. The crime spree has spilled into the suburbs, including Edina, St. Louis Park, Eden Prairie, Robbinsdale, Roseville, Maplewood and Woodbury.
"We are here because our businesses and our residents tell us they are frightened and they want to know what we're going to do about it," said Maplewood Mayor Marylee Abrams.
Maple Grove Police Chief Eric Werner, who is president of the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association, said law enforcement jobs have only gotten more difficult as crime rises and the perception of police shifts.
"The bad guys see us as not having validity," Werner said.