Ex-Legislator to Minneapolis PD on Crime: “Please Help Us”

Rampant lawlessness and violent crime in downtown Minneapolis have made national news. But there’s also increasing concern over the well-being of residents in supposedly safer areas of the city.

The latest safety concerns came up in an open letter to Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arrandondo from longtime DFL insider and former state legislator Wes Skoglund in the Star Tribune.

A resident of the city’s third precinct, Skoglund noted the need to divert more cops to secure downtown inevitably leaves other neighborhoods like his more vulnerable.

We in lower crime parts of town know and reluctantly accept that the MPD has to focus staffing in higher crime areas. Unfortunately for us, the crooks know it too, only better.

They know the risk of being caught goes down as violent crimes go up elsewhere. They also know that the risk of being in possession of stolen property is minimal if the crime is not reported, because the owner is still asleep or didn’t bother reporting because of the feeling that it won’t do any good.

RELATED: Why is crime rising in Minneapolis?

While Skoglund thanked Arradondo for doing his best with an “understaffed force,” the influential ex-politician pleaded with the chief to consider an old-school community policing approach that he says worked well in the past.

We are wondering whether using “bait” goods such as bikes, computers, cellphones, briefcases, power tools, golf clubs and so on, equipped with GPS locaters and placed in susceptible places, could be used to curb crimes and help apprehend suspects? And would it be possible to have cameras nearby to record the crime?

What happens now is that hard-worked-for belongings, like tools for work or bikes needed to get there, are being stolen almost with impunity. They are taken from law-abiding citizens’ cars, garages, sheds, porches and businesses with a frequency that seems to be growing — so much so that a lot of people aren’t even bothering to report the crimes.

But some of these same citizens, and certainly others, would willingly volunteer their driveways, yards, cars, garages, sheds, porches and businesses as locations to place bait objects that could be tracked if stolen.

Skoglund joins downtown business leaders, the police union and the owners of four professional sports teams in an unprecedented push to convince Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and the city council to hire more police officers. Yet the veteran legislator acknowledged things might have to get worse before local pols get the picture.

Our elected city officials don’t seem to place much importance on these types of crimes. But I know from a lifetime of living in south Minneapolis, and from my many years of legislative service, how much quality-of-life crimes matter to our law-abiding citizens and to the future of our neighborhoods.

Please help us.