The puzzling aversion to go on the offensive

This past weekend Minneapolis experienced one of its most violent stretches in recent memory. 18 people were shot, and 3 died between Thursday and early Monday morning. 3 of the shootings involved 4 victims each, and each shooting happened in a public venue — 2 at bars and 1 at a gas station. See the CrimeWatchMpls recap here.

We should expect violence at this level to result in a significant response by our city and state leaders. Yet we’ve seen nothing in 6 days. 

Not a single leader has stepped up to call out and condemn those who are destroying our communities. 

Instead, in an interview with WCCO-4, Minneapolis Commissioner of Community Safety Cedric Alexander oddly criticized the businesses where some of this violence occurred, telling them to “do something better.” See interview here.

This is coming from a city that has willfully abandoned the businesses at 38th and Chicago Ave. So. (George Floyd Square) and has left the burned-out hulk of its police 3rd precinct to sit as a trophy to lawlessness for 2 ½ years.

With this as a backdrop, is Commissioner Alexander really abdicating the responsibility for preventing violence in the city to the likes of Winner Gas and Bullwinkle’s Saloon? 

Leadership should be focusing on the real sources of the violence. 

Yes, long term societal issues need to be addressed, but it’s not an either-or proposition. While social service entities deal with long-term solutions, the more pressing need should be to quash the violence, now. 

Political and public safety leaders must gather and jointly:

  • Identify, call out, and denounce the criminals that freely operate throughout the city.
  • Boldly announce that the police have been given a mandate from the community to aggressively attack street crime, and that they have the full support of leadership to carry out that mandate.
  • Conduct and support proactive policing in and around known hot spots — relentlessly.
  • Demand accountability from the violence interrupter groups hired by the city for $7 million in 2022 alone. Deploy these assets in coordination with law enforcement leadership on a consistent basis.

After this summer’s July 4th chaos, which included at least 8 people shot in one incident, Mayor Frey memorably stated:

“…this kind of behavior shouldn’t be tolerated and let me be clear it won’t be tolerated.” 

The time has never been better to act on that statement. 

Each violent incident that occurs justifiably shortens the honeymoon period for Minneapolis’s new Office of Community Safety.