Whittier residents start crime task force

The Whittier Alliance is launching a new Crime and Safety Task Force.

At the group’s first meeting in December, Crime Prevention Specialist Chelsea Adams noted a pattern of robberies developing in recent months that has targeted Hispanic victims. Suspects may assume a Hispanic person is more likely to carry cash, Adams said. She said a Spanish-speaking crime prevention specialist has been working “nonstop” to spread the word.

Police reminded residents to pin windows (even on the second floor), close garages, lock doors, store bikes inside, and route package deliveries to UPS or other safe pickup locations.

“Once you invite an opportunity into the neighborhood one time, they’re coming back,” said Sgt. Mike Frye.

Whittier resident Kenya Weathers encouraged people to get to know their neighbors, even if some are reluctant to chat at first.

“It has helped on my block,” he said. “…We as citizens must take charge of our community.”

The next Task Force meeting is Tuesday, Feb. 2 from 7-8:30 p.m. at the Wedge Table community room, 2412 Nicollet Ave. For details, visit whittieralliance.org.

The neighborhood also has a group of “Whittier Walkers,” which are trained volunteers who patrol the streets together and provide extra eyes on the street. For more information, call the Whittier Alliance at 871-7756.

As of Dec. 28, violent crime in Southwest Minneapolis’ 5th Precinct was down 10.9 percent year-to-date from 2014, and down 20.8 percent from 2013. There were five homicides in the precinct this year, up from three last year. Property crime was down nearly 14 percent year-to-date.