Large-scale security upgrades in store for Cedar-Riverside apartment complex

Upgrades totaling $825,000 will be installed in coming weeks for the Cedar High Apartments in response to security concerns from last year.

The Cedar High Apartments are seen on Monday, July 2 in Minneapolis. The apartment community will soon have $825,000 of heightened security upgrades.

Ellen Schmidt

The Cedar High Apartments are seen on Monday, July 2 in Minneapolis. The apartment community will soon have $825,000 of heightened security upgrades.

by J.D. Duggan

Major security upgrades are coming to a government-funded apartment complex in Cedar-Riverside to address resident safety concerns.

An $825,000 security project will add secured entryways, an updated security camera system and a 6-foot perimeter fence to the Cedar High Apartments, a complex owned and managed by Minneapolis Public Housing Authority. Construction on the upgrades begins July 10 and is expected to take eight weeks to complete.

This updated security comes in response to a slew of assaults that brought concern to Cedar-Riverside residents in early 2017. 

“This is the big thing that is happening that’s going to address, we hope, a lot of the key security concerns of residents,” said Jeff Horwich, director of policy and external affairs for MPHA.

Horwich said much of the trouble was caused by a single man running through the neighborhood, assaulting and robbing residents in the area. This prompted community discussion about what residents felt were appropriate security measures. 

Another major concern was unauthorized nonresidents cutting through the property from the adjacent light rail station, which Horwich hopes will be stopped with the fence and secured entry.

Upgrades were discussed at a May 7 meeting with Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and Ward 6 City Council member Abdi Warsame. 

Warsame said he thinks the upgrades are a step in the right direction and hopes the added security will address key concerns of residents.

“I think it’s worth it because I think our elders need to be secure,” Warsame said. “They need to feel comfortable, and if it costs that much, that’s fine. I don’t think the money matters, I think their safety is paramount.”

MPHA funded the project directly from its capital investments budget to expedite the upgrades, rather than seeking added funding from state grants or otherwise.

“Security is a challenge in that neighborhood,” Horwich said. “It’s not just our building but it’s really a neighborhood concern, which is why [Council member] Warsame has taken such an interest in it.”

Minneapolis Police Department First Precinct Inspector Eddie Frizell said they have not noticed an uptick of crime in the Cedar-Riverside area throughout 2018. But a police picnic on June 26 in Currie Park marks a desire for community engagement between officers and the community, he said.

“I’m of the philosophy that we don’t try to over-police,” Frizell said. “We have picnics, our police athletic league… we routinely meet with the elders and we have the Cedar-Riverside Safety Committee.”

From the beginning of the year to May 31, MPD responded to 20 aggravated assaults in 2017 compared to four in 2018. The department also saw 126 acts of larceny in the neighborhood in 2017 and 93 this year through the end of May. Incidences of robbery rose from 12 in all of 2017 to 15 from beginning of 2018 to May 31. Frizell punctuated that no overall trend of increased crime has been observed in that area this year.