In light of recent crime, Marcy-Holmes launches new safety committee

The committee aims to tackle issues of street safety and emergency communications.

Community members address concerns on increased crime in the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood at an inaugural safety committee meeting at First Congregational Church on Monday, Nov. 11. (Parker Johnson / Minnesota Daily)

Parker Johnson

Community members address concerns on increased crime in the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood at an inaugural safety committee meeting at First Congregational Church on Monday, Nov. 11. (Parker Johnson / Minnesota Daily)

Taylor Schroeder

The Marcy-Holmes neighborhood is addressing recurring safety issues and concerns in a new committee.  

Following a series of violent crimes and emergency community meetings, the Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association hosted an inaugural safety committee meeting Monday night at First Congregational Church. Neighborhood residents, city officials and landlords gathered to discuss concerns over street safety during early morning hours and gaps in communication with different residents. 

“Now we can have meetings that can be broken up into communications, infrastructure and lighting for this task force. I just need people to know about what we can do and what our limitations are both financially and structurally,” said MHNA director Chris Lautenschlager.

Suggested improvements brought up by neighborhood residents at the meeting included additional street lighting in problem areas and wider-reaching notifications of safety threats when they occur from the Minneapolis and University of Minnesota police departments.

“Our MPD communications infrastructure is completely separate from Marcy-Holmes’ and the city’s communication infrastructure, which is why it feels so highly inefficient,” said Ward 3 City Council member Steve Fletcher, who attended the meeting. 

Community members had repeatedly suggested forming a safety committee at past meetings. Since January, the neighborhood has held four emergency meetings in the wake of high-profile violent crimes. 

Marcy-Holmes has formed different safety committees in the past, Lautenschlager said. Lack of energy, time and availability caused the last Marcy-Holmes safety committee to discontinue about seven years ago. 

“Not to suggest crime numbers are different in any particular way, but the momentum or the energy around this is a lot more than I’ve felt in [time] I’ve been involved,” Lautenschlager said. 

Violent crime has increased in Marcy-Holmes, according to Minneapolis Police Department crime data. The number of violent crimes from January to November has climbed 26 percent in 2019 compared to last year. In 2018, there were 73 instances of violent crime. This year, the number increased to 92. 

Marcy-Holmes residents are not alone in tackling their safety concerns. Representatives from Steven Scott Management also attended the committee meeting. 

Steven Scott Management is the property owner of a 6th Street apartment building, which has been cause for neighborhood concern. Multiple crimes have taken place at or near the apartment. In September, a man attempted to abduct a resident in the back parking lot early in the morning. In October, an early morning homicide occurred several blocks from the apartment. 

Next steps for the committee include selecting a committee chair in January, Lautenschlager said. 

Muhammad Abdurrahman, a resident of Mary-Holmes and a creator of safety app ClutchSOS, said he feels optimistic about the efforts put forth by the community.

“I’m glad people are still here. It’s not just, ‘oh something bad happened, so we’re coming’ and then nobody comes [to the safety meetings] again. We’re still coming, people still care,” Abdurrahman said. “I’m hoping we have a sustained interest to make things better.”