For safer city, Samuels would reach out to six families

Don Samuels laid out his public safety plan today at Farview Park on the North Side Credit: Nick Halter

Mayoral candidate Don Samuels says the way to make Minneapolis a safer city is to intervene with six families who are responsible for a high percentage of violent crime and to tighten gun control laws locally and nationally.

Samuels today laid out to reporters his public safety plan that he would enact if elected mayor. He did so backed by Sami Rahamim and John Souter. Rahamim’s father was killed and Souter was injured in the Accent Signage shooting a year ago.

Samuels, who lives on the north side of the city, said six extended families produce a “disproportionate” amount of violent crime in the city. He described the families not smimilar to organized crime organizations like the mafia, but as dysfunctional and in need of intervention.

The families are violent to rival families and within their own family, he said. They are often run by young men whose fathers are imprisoned. 

Samuels said as mayor he would personally visit each of these families with an offer from the city to provide these families with the best early childhood and K-12 education, tutoring, mentoring, counseling, job training, summer camps and anything else they need.

“These families are going to be circled by a set of resources and agencies that will guarantee that they will not be isolated,” he said.

Samuels said if the families reject the offer, there would be “a lot of consequences.” He also called the idea a wise investment of government resources because it will reduce incarceration costs, social support costs and corrective costs.

“We are going to use money wisely, preemptively and it’s going to be a mere fraction of what these families cost,” he said.

Gun control measures

Samuels, who chair’s the city’s public safety committee, said violent crime in Minneapolis is at its lowest level since 1963, but more must be done.

Samuels says he would use city authority to crack down on gun shows by requiring those that happen on city property — like the Convention Center —  conduct background checks for purchases. The city could not, however, extend that requirement to gun shows on private property.

He said he would also sign a municipal ordinance that mandates the reporting of lost or stolen guns in an effort to identify people who are conducting straw purchases of weapons for criminals.

Rahamim praised Samuels’s proposals.

“We needed leaders like Councilman Samuels who aren’t afraid of the gun lobby and have proven time and again that they are willing to work closely with police and law enforcement to further curb the number of people killed with guns in the city,” he said.