Lynnhurst residents rally after crime spike

LYNNHURST — A rash of burglaries and reports of drug dealing from cars in Lynnhurst has caused concerns among the quiet neighborhood’s residents and spurred two community meetings about the area’s safety.

Drug dealing from cars, known as mobile drug dealing, and burglaries have been prevalent in other Southwest neighborhoods this year, but Lynnhurst is among a group of far South Minneapolis neighborhoods that are used to seeing virtually no crime.

“It’s unusual for us,” said Lynnhurst Neighborhood Association (LNA) President Shahnaz Coyer. “That’s why we’re not happy about it.”

Concerned neighborhood residents met to discuss the issues with police and City Council Member Betsy Hodges (13th Ward) at the July LNA meeting and another gathering earlier this month. Neighbors are working to improve communication about crime trends with each other and police to reduce future incidents.

Lynnhurst had four reports of burglaries in June, six in May and five in April. July statistics were not yet available. Theft from garages has been the most common type of burglary, said Lt. Chris Hildreth of the Minneapolis Police Department’s 5th Precinct. Sometimes burglars will rustle through cars looking for garage door openers as a way to get in, he said, but most thefts are the result of unlocked doors.

Most of the burglars are transient, Hildreth said. Several have been arrested, and other suspects have been identified. Fingerprint kits have come in handy in making the arrests, he said, so more of those have been ordered and more officers are being encouraged to learn how to use them.

The drug dealing from vehicles is harder to find and stop, Hildreth said. Police rely heavily on 911 calls and residents’ descriptions of suspicious people and vehicles, but the Police Department’s overstretched staff often has trouble making it to a scene in time to make an arrest — assuming they could prove drug dealing was happening, he said.

Nevertheless, Hildreth is urging residents to lock their doors and to call 911 immediately when they see something suspicious.

Lauren Beagle, a Lynnhurst block leader, said residents should be a big part of keeping their community safe. Organizing block clubs is a way to do that, she said.  

“It’s really up to everyone in the neighborhood to go above and beyond and to get involved,” she said.

To learn more about the LNA, visit www.lynnhurst.org.