Gov. Walz to Minneapolis residents desperate in the face of rising crime: you’re on your own

On Sept. 14, in an article titled ‘Violent crime up 19% in Minneapolis,’ I wrote: “There have been 67 homicides in Minneapolis so far this year.” That number is now up to 75. In the city’s Fourth Precinct alone, city data shows there have been 35 homicides this year. 

The situation is so desperate in parts of the city that, in September, more than two dozen residents of Minneapolis’ north side sent a letter to Gov. Tim Walz asking him to send the National Guard and State Patrol to the city to assist Minneapolis Police amid the ongoing surge in violence. Now they have his reply.

As KSTP reports:

A group of Minneapolis neighbors is calling Gov. Tim Walz’s response to a request for help “insufficient.”

“My gut response is it was exactly what I thought,” said Becka Thompson, who’s lived in the Victory neighborhood for 11 years. “It was a lot of ‘we’ve done this, we’ve done that,’ but at the end of the day, ‘we’re not going to do anything.’”

Tyler Balbuena, who received the letter on behalf of the neighborhood group, echoed those frustrations.

“Nothing in this letter commits to sending additional resources to Minneapolis to aid us. To me it seems the Governor is telling us we are still on our own,” Balbuena said through email. “Several of my neighbors are pursuing carry permits since the city and state have failed in their duty to provide for public safety. I expect that trend to continue the longer we are left to fend for ourselves. I can’t imagine this level of homicide and violent crime would be allowed to continue anywhere else in the state.”

The letter from the Governor’s Office, dated Oct. 14, says, in part:

Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan are committed to ensuring that every Minnesotan lives in a safe and supportive community. The challenges the City of Minneapolis faces in public safety are troubling and a manifestation of a nationwide rise in violent crime during the pandemic.

This shoulder shrugging is now established policy from Gov. Walz on this issue. It ignores the fact that there are definite things that state and local law enforcement can do to reduce violent crime.

To Balbuena, “this response is insufficient in the face of the violent crime we continue to face. This year North Minneapolis has seen roughly the same number of homicides as the entire city of Saint Paul.”

“Who is going to say, ‘I will take charge of this, I will make sure citizens are safe’” said Thompson, who is critical of city and state leaders.

Thompson hopes to see more officers on the streets. She pointed out Walz’s office responded with its letter just hours before seven people were injured in three shootings in Minneapolis on Thursday evening.

“We’re in a time of crisis in our city, we’re in a time of deep distress on the north side,” Thompson said. “There’s no end in sight and what’s becoming so troubling to me is it’s becoming normalized, that’s the thing that I don’t think anyone would want that to happen.”

KSTP noted that Walz declined requests for an interview.