After a skyrocketing amount of violent crime, leaders of the community and the city of Minneapolis itself have called on its residents to “stand up and speak out” against the crime after a recent bout of violent shootings.
In the wake of the riots to defund the police by Black Lives Matter activists after the death of George Floyd, violent crime has steadily risen throughout the city over the course of the past year. There was a spike of 21% in violent crimes in 2020 and so far 2021 is looking to set a new record as the underfunded and undermanned police force wrestle with a large string of shootings, the most recent of which lead to two dead and eight wounded.
This past week at Shiloh Temple in north Minneapolis, the community leaders of Minneapolis hosted a “take back the block” rally in order to start a campaign of community pushback to the surge in violence. This past Monday, a group of volunteer vigilantes took to the streets of the city as a display that was meant to tell criminals that they do not run this city anymore, as reported by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. The inception of this program is the result of the city seeing a massive shortage of cops and has issued requests to both federal and state agencies for assistance in the law enforcement issues.
“It isn’t an invasion of your block — this is support of your block,” stated Rev. Brian Herron as he attended the rally this past week, making reference to the volunteers that would be stationed at many street intersections across the city’s North Side. “We want to see you come out. We want to see you sitting on your stoop.”
Jacob Frey, the Democratic Mayor of Minneapolis, Medaria Arradondo, the Police Chief, and John Harrington, the Minnesota Commissioner of Public Safety, were in attendance with Herron at last week’s event. While using the event as a way to advocate gun control, Harrington stated, “We have to get the guns off the streets. We cannot live with this insanity.”
Also at the event, Arradondo issued a plea to members of the community to come forward with any and all information about the people involved in the recent string of shootings and to aid the police in their investigations. “Minneapolis police officers will continue to rush into harm’s way to save lives; however, we need help from community leaders and residents to stand up and speak out,” he begged.
The police department in Minneapolis is severely understaffed after a large group of officers walked out and left the force over the past year. Over the last year, almost 20% of the police force took their early retirement or extended leaves of absence. The department was forced to shrink back and cut some of its normal operations as a result of this mass vanishing.