They’ve tried nothing and are all out of ideas (Updated)

The growing crime wave in the suburban Twin Cities metro area has pushed area leaders into alternating bouts of finger-pointing and pledges of cooperation.

In the past two weeks, Minnesota’s organization of police chiefs sent a letter to the lead prosecutors in the state’s two largest urban counties, Hennepin and Ramsey. The pointed letter states that “prosecutorial policies are failing to hold criminals accountable for their actions.”

Last week, a group of five suburban mayors sent a letter to Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, asking him to get tougher on prosecuting crime.

This week, Freeman responded by announcing a new task force. Or, perhaps it’s the relaunching of a former anti-crime task force. Touted as a “public-private partnership,” the group will include the typical mix of community leaders, local elected officials, and representatives of the business community.

Freeman says, “We can’t incarcerate our way out of this problem.”

With that off the table, it’s not clear what this prestigious group of twelve will bring to the effort. But the effort is generating favorable headlines in local media. (“Officials across Twin Cities join forces to fight rising crime”)

Progress can’t come soon enough for metro-area residents. Authorities recorded 640 carjackings in Minneapolis alone during calendar year 2021. A carjacking attempt was reported in west metro Edina last night. (Updated: it happened outside a pre-school, a former Minnesota Viking came to the rescue). A successful carjacking took place in east metro Woodbury.

Minneapolis has already recorded its first murder of 2022. (Update: And now its second). St. Paul has already recorded its first two of the year. (Update: Duluth has recorded its first homicide of the year, in a Friday night bar fight.)

Not everyone is waiting for task forces and joint press releases before taking concrete action. Newsletter writer Blois Olson of Morning Take draws attention to a Twitter thread by independent local journalist David Brauer reporting on private security efforts in southwest Minneapolis.

Neighbors in the Lake Harriet area of the city are looking to raise $50,000 to $100,000 to fund private, unarmed security patrols of the neighborhood. The group is asking households to contribute $100 per month to the effort — on top of their already exorbitant property taxes.