Carjackings come to the suburbs

The epidemic of carjackings in Minneapolis has now spilled over into the adjacent suburbs.

As Minneapolis is approaching 500 carjackings for the calendar year, car thieves are looking for new territory, or perhaps, just easier targets.

This interactive map shows that there have been relatively few carjackings in the wealthy southwestern part of Minneapolis. Instead, in that part of town, thieves have jumped up to home invasion and armed robbery as reported by Fox 9 and WCCO. (Update: Kare 11 reports that a woman was carjacked in the Linden Hills neighborhood of southwest Minneapolis over the weekend.)

No, carjackers have skipped southwest Minneapolis entirely and moved further west into Hennepin County, into the adjacent suburbs of Edina and St. Louis Park. Two different outlets of the upscale Lunds & Byerlys grocery store chain were hit this week. Fox 9 journalists were reporting on an earlier carjacking in St. Louis Park, when they were pressed into service to disrupt a new one.

Edina officials have offered a $5,000 reward and posted pictures of the suspects in their local incident. (Update: the mayor of Edina issued a statement over the weekend saying the city is “under attack from mobile criminals” responsible for the rash of carjackings. St. Louis Park is also offering a $5,000 reward.)

Meanwhile, another Hennepin County government is cutting resources for police.

As the trial of Brooklyn Center police officer Kimberly Potter for the killing of Daunte Wright was underway in downtown Minneapolis, the suburban city council voted cut the police budget for 2022.

With all this drama in Hennepin County around public safety, readers may wonder what the county’s highest ranking law enforcement official is up to. Sheriff David Hutchinson has legal problems of his own, having crashed a county-owned vehicle at 2:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning near outstate Alexandria. He’s been charged with four counts related to drunk driving. One of the charges involved his carrying his service pistol while under the influence of alcohol. (Update: KARE 11 also reports on how this incident threatens the Sheriff’s peace officer license.)

Not everyone is waiting for help from the top. KSTP reports that the Lunds & Byerlys grocery chain is stepping up private security at its suburban locations hit by the recent carjacking attempts. Hiring more private security appears to be a nationwide trend.

Author Michael Shellenberger reports from Beverly Hills, California, that local residents in this otherwise liberal city are buying guns to protect themselves from surging violent crime.

The liberal mayor of Oakland, California, has also had a change of heart regarding public safety. Mayor Libby Shaaf convinced the city council this week to reverse its trajectory and increase funding for police in the Bay Area-city.

Even as inflation has replaced COVID as the top issue among American voters, crime has moved up to fifth place on the list of most important political issues. As we shift into the 2022 mid-term election year, the issue of public safety may prove to be pivotal to the outcome.