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The crime rate is soaring in Minneapolis just a week after the city council voted to slash the city’s police budget amid calls to “defund the police.”
Compared to last year, murders are up 75% so far this year in Minneapolis, according to Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) data. There have been 78 people murdered year-to-date, compared to 45 murders last year.
Police have recorded 532 gunshot victims this year, more than double the same period a year ago. Carjackings have also spiked to 375 so far this year, up 331% from the same period last year.
In addition, violent crimes have also surged, with 5,237 reported so far this year, compared to the 4,169 during the same period in 2019, statistics show.
As the murder rate skyrockets in Minneapolis, two city council members this week distanced themselves from the “defund the police” movement, just days after the council cut the police department’s budget. Last week, the council unanimously approved a budget to shift $8 million from the department toward violence prevention and mental health programs.
City Council Member Steve Fletcher bristled during a recent interview with local news station KSTP-TV that the council’s goal was to defund the police. “‘Defund’ is not the framework the council has ever chosen,” Fletcher said during the interview. Council Member Phillipe Cunningham, who was also interviewed, agreed.
But Fletcher and Cunningham were two of the nine city council members who attended a June event — standing behind a sign that said “defund police.” The event came just weeks after the May 25 death of George Floyd while in the custody of Minneapolis police. At the event, council member Jeremiah Ellison promised that the council would “dismantle” the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD).
But Cunningham said the council simply wanted to overhaul the department.
“I think that it’s important to name that dismantle does not mean dismantle into nothing, it means dismantling what we currently have to build something new,” Cunningham told the station. And Fletcher said Minneapolis residents wanted the council “to do something really hard – to transform a system that’s existed more than a hundred years.”
“The thing that we care about is, what’s the system we’re designing that’s better?” Fletcher said. “And yes, if we design a better system that’s going to mean investing less in traditional armed law enforcement because we’re relying less on that.”
Compared to last year, murders are up 75% so far this in Minneapolis, according to MPD data. There have been 78 people murdered year-to-date, compared to 45 murders last year. Violent crimes have also surged, with 5,237 reported so far this year, compared to the 4,169 during the same period in 2019, statistics show.
“If we’re going to look at how we fund different programs, it would be very hard to do that without taking that money from the Minneapolis Police Department,” Fletcher said. “There’s very little elsewhere in the city where it feels like there’s money to be taken.”
He also said the reduction in funding “didn’t cut a single officer, it didn’t cut a single tangible thing on the street.”
“What it cut was a massive increase in overtime that they had proposed and that felt like bloat in the budget,” Fletcher said.
The council has been backing away from the “defund the police” movement. Just last month, the council added nearly $500,000 to the MPD budget to bring in personnel from the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Department and Metropolitan Council/Metro Transit Police.