Neighborhoods plan to request money for additional police patrols

by Koran Addo

As the temperatures rise, police and neighborhood residents are preparing for the inevitable increase in crime that follows, Minneapolis police said.

This year, two University-area neighborhoods are taking their preparations a step further.

The Marcy-Holmes and Southeast Como neighborhoods are expected to submit a joint proposal today to the Minneapolis Neighborhood Revitalization Program to request more police presence.

The program’s stated mission is to give Minneapolis neighborhoods the resources needed to make improvements.

Greg Simbeck, coordinator for the Southeast Como Improvement Association, said he is especially worried about an increase in auto theft, burglaries and vandalism in the neighborhoods.

“Anytime you get a chance to add more police presence, you’re doing a service to all the residents in the neighborhood,” he said.

The proposal calls for more than $24,000 of the Neighborhood Revitalization Program’s money to be set aside for the Minneapolis Police Department’s 2nd precinct. The precinct serves neighborhoods near the University. The money would be used to finance extra police patrols in the Marcy-Holmes and Southeast Como neighborhoods.

Minneapolis police Lt. Tami Aker said the strategy is a good one that strengthens bonds between the police department and the neighborhoods.

The plan specifies that two-person squads will police high-crime areas from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. three times a week.

These squads will be assigned to patrol the two neighborhoods specifically.

Representatives from both neighborhoods said adding extra officers rather than shifting current officers is important so regular police functions such as emergency 911 responses are not affected.

Businesses in University neighborhoods have taken similar measures in the past by hiring private security firms to deter unwanted activity at or near their facilities.

Tom Mudek, owner of South Cross Services, a private security firm in Minneapolis, said he welcomes the increased police presence because it makes his job easier.

After the proposal is submitted, the program’s policy board will review it and decide whether to accept it on April 19.

If the proposal is accepted, Bob Miller, the program’s director, said the neighborhoods can expect the extra patrols to begin in May or June.

If approved, the proposal would be subject to monthly or quarterly progress evaluations and would expire Dec. 31, Miller said.