“No bail” policies contribute to auto thefts (Updated)

Five suburban Minnesota cities have banded together to fight surging crime in their communities, especially carjacking.

And the first thing that they are asking for is help from their county attorney. The five cities — Bloomington, Eden Prairie, Edina, Minnetonka, and Plymouth — are seeking to collaborate with the county on joint solutions to the crime crisis.

Specifically, the five mayors are asking Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman to reverse a policy he put in place a year ago to not require bond for persons arrested for stealing cars. Yes, theft of a motor vehicle is among the twenty crimes that no longer require bail under the county’s push to reduce incarceration.

The mayors attribute this policy change to the surge in car-related crimes throughout the county. Freeman announced this new policy last December, alongside Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison and the county attorney from suburban-St. Paul Washington County. Click on the link and scroll down to see the full list of “no bail required” crimes.

It’s not merely the failure to prosecute. Fewer arrests are being made by area police. Arrests for most violent and property crimes are down in Hennepin County’s largest city, Minneapolis. Arrests for some crimes in Minneapolis are down more than two-thirds for the year. Arrests are down even as incidents of both violent and property crime are up significantly in the city in 2021.

However, arrests for homicides are up in 2021.

The City of Edina, one of the coalition partners, hosted two more listening sessions on local crime on Dec. 20 at their city hall. (Update: WCCO reports on the afternoon meeting.)

(Update: Freeman’s office reports that three juveniles have been charged with a series of recent suburban carjackings.)

(Update: KSTP reports on efforts to fight carjacking at the county level.)