Southwest sees crime dropping in 2018

Crime is down year-to-date in all major crime categories in Southwest Minneapolis.

Violent crime is down 22 percent year-to-date from 2017, while property crime is down 15.9 percent, according to the police crime dashboard. Robbery is down 27.9 percent from 2017, aggravated assault is down 13.7 percent, burglary is down 29.7 percent and theft from vehicles is down 13.3 percent.

Out of the city’s 27 homicides to-date in 2018, one took place in Southwest’s 5thPrecinct. An 18-year-old, Norea Stephon Wilford, was shot near East 43rd Street & 1st Avenue South in March. He died later that night of a gunshot wound to the chest.

Insp. Kathy Waite said the investigation continues, and said the shooting had no ties to the neighborhood where the homicide took place.

“There is nobody out in the community that should be at risk of this offender,” she said.

Bystanders were hurt in a June shooting at The Lotus Uptown, which recently closed on Hennepin. The shooting led to a boost in safety measures approved by the City Council in August, requiring  more lighting and cameras in the parking lot and off-duty police officers as well as private security Friday and Saturday nights.

“The business has definitely stepped up since that incident took place,” Waite said in late September. “…I think they’ve done a nice job in what they can, but it was a very unfortunate situation. There were a couple of people that were shot that had no involvement in the incident whatsoever.”

She said the shooting is still under investigation.

Police installed other new safety measures in Uptown last summer. Police started shutting down Lagoon Avenue between Hennepin and Fremont to avoid a standstill at bar close, and they’ve recently used horse patrol as well. Previously, ride services stopping in the street backed up traffic and could extend bar close crowds by an hour, police said. Dispersing people by a block drastically speeds up people leaving the area, police said.

Police issued a crime alert in late September for the neighborhoods of Whittier, Lowry Hill East, CARAG and Lyndale, noting a recent increase in burglaries, thefts from vehicles and auto thefts.

Larceny is the most frequently reported crime in the city, according to police. Larceny refers to theft without force, such as stealing something unattended, shoplifting or pick pocketing.

Waite urged people not to leave valuables in plain sight in vehicles, and instead stash them in a trunk prior to arrival. Thefts from trunks are relatively rare, she said.

At National Night Out events this year, Lt. Eric Dison said he looked through car windows and pointed out laptops in plain sight, as well as bags and coins in the ashtray. He suggested that people keep coats and sweaters in the trunk as well, so passersby don’t wonder what might be underneath them.

Waite recommended filing police reports for every crime, and said police can’t monitor chatter on Nextdoor.

Police are scheduled to attend upcoming community meetings in Kingfield and Fulton on Oct. 10. The Kingfield Neighborhood Association generally meets the second Wednesday of the month at Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Park. The Fulton Neighborhood Association’s Annual Meeting is Oct. 10 from 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m. at Pershing Park.