Authorities are warning South Minneapolis residents about a rise in strong-arm robberies and carjackings in recent weeks.
Minneapolis Police say there has been a string of robberies using physical force to take cellphones, purses and vehicles from people across Minneapolis in the Third (South) and Fifth (Southwest) precincts.
Groups of robbers are approaching people on the sidewalk or in parking lots and stealing items before fleeing in previously stolen vehicles, police say. The suspects are often armed or imply they have a weapon to victims.
Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo released a statement acknowledging the incidents on July 28.
“We are aware of the uptick in crime in the Third and Fifth Precincts of Minneapolis,” Arradondo said. “We take all crime seriously and are working with the Precinct Inspectors as well as the Violent Crimes Investigative Division to address this. We have redeployed internal resources and intelligence gathering to keep neighborhoods safe and hold those accountable who are committing these malicious acts.”
Investigators believe two people involved in the string of robberies were arrested early July 29 after a chase between police and suspects ended at a home near 21st & Queen in North Minneapolis. Police tried to stop two stolen vehicles, when suspects drove their cars toward the officers, striking one who was out of the vehicle and ramming into a squad car, injuring another officer, MPD said in a press release. The suspects fled to the home and were detained after officers obtained a warrant, around 1 a.m. on July 29, police say.
MPD believes the two people arrested have been involved in the robberies and car thefts in South and Southwest and say several stolen vehicles have been recovered. The investigation continues, police say.
Police are encouraging residents to be alert and avoid walking around alone with headphones in or other distractions. They also are encouraging residents to carry only what they need, lock doors upon entering and exiting vehicles and keep bags and purses on their person or between their feet at restaurants and coffee shops.
In the 5th Precinct, there were 26 robberies reported between July 21 and July 27, according to MPD’s crime dashboard; in the four years prior, no more than five robberies have been reported in that week. Robberies are up 57% from last year at this point and have reached a five-year high in Southwest.
Vehicle thefts are up nearly 60% over the five-year average in Southwest. The 22 car thefts reported from July 21 to July 27 represents a 144% increase from that week last year.
Both violent and property crimes have reached five-year highs through July in Southwest, according to MPD data.
Residents with questions can contact the crime prevention specialist for their area. Their contact information can be found here.