More police added for summer

State troopers will help Minneapolis officers patrol neighborhoods through Labor Day.

Yelena Kibasova

More police in north Minneapolis this summer are intended to increase safety.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty announced last week the addition of six state troopers to the 4th Precinct of the Minneapolis Police Department.

“We’re real appreciative of the Minnesota State Patrol collaborating with us again on this endeavor for the second year,” said 4th Precinct Lt. Medaria Arradondo.

The troopers will be paired with city police and patrol the north side until Labor Day.

“Typically, most agencies experience their volume of calls go up in the summer months,” Arradondo said.

With school out for summer and warm weather, more people are on the streets, he said.

According to Minneapolis Uniform Crime Report Summaries, reported vandalism went from 84 cases in January 2005 to 214 cases in July of that year. Burglaries also went up that year, from 101 in January to 147 in July.

Arradondo said having two officers per squad allows them to respond to serious calls such as burglaries, fights or reports of shots fired more efficiently.

The addition of officers on the streets is part of the Safe City initiative, said Steve Johnson, deputy chief of police for the University.

Pawlenty gave Minneapolis $2 million for the initiative, which the city matched, Johnson said.

Second Precinct Lt. Ike de Lugo said the initiative makes officers more visible during the summer.

“Even an empty squad car on the corner has an effect on the crime in that area,” he said.

Johnson said it is very common for police departments to help each other out.

“In the area here, we’re all on the same radio,” Johnson said. “If a situation comes up where officers need help they call for help and troopers, deputies and officers from any local jurisdiction that’s close will come to assist if they need it.”

Johnson said the University Police Department also is taking part in the initiative with the 2nd Precinct.

The 2nd Precinct covers northeast and southeast Minneapolis, which overlaps University neighborhoods Marcy-Holmes and Southeast Como.

De Lugo said the departments are teaming up and sending plainclothes police officers to watch the streets at night.

“Their specific job is to prowl the homes and the alleys and the streets in the dark of night trying to find groups of kids,” de Lugo said.

He said there have been a lot of “beat-down robberies” in southeast Minneapolis, during which citizens are attacked and robbed on the streets.

University students are a large number of the victims in past crimes, Johnson said

“We’re enthusiastically supporting and working with them on this and it’s something we think is really valuable to help protect our students,” he said.

Arradondo said the extra visibility in north Minneapolis always helps with safety.

“Certainly, the 4th Precinct has had its challenges with Ö violent crime this past year,” he said. “If in fact having the state patrol team up with our folks for the summer helps us in some small capacity to reduce that, then that’s a win-win for not only our organization, but for the community of the north side of Minneapolis.”