MPD "suspicious" north Mpls stops spike along with violent crime
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According to city data, suspicious vehicle stops in the 4th Precinct, which covers all of the North Side, have increased by 30 percent from last year, and suspicious persons stops are up by 43 percent. Nonetheless, violent crime in the area is up 16 percent from last year and 35 percent since this time in 2011.
But the North Side isn't the only area of Minneapolis to see an increase in police stops this year. In the 1st Precinct, which covers downtown, suspicious vehicle stops are up 74 percent over last year and 92 percent since 2011. Violent crime downtown is down 5 percent from last year but up 46 percent from 2011.
For the city as a whole, suspicious vehicle stops are up 18 percent this year, but suspicious persons stops are down 7 percent. Meanwhile, violent crime is down 2 percent from last year but up 14 percent over the last two.
The MPD doesn't gather information about the races of persons or drivers stopped by cops, but some allege part of the increase in stops is the result of racial profiling.
"To me, that's just stop-and-frisk," Kenneth Brown, former chairman of the city's Civil Rights Commission, told the Star Tribune, referring to the police practice that was limited by a federal judge earlier this month in New York. "They won't explain it that way, but I guarantee you that if you have an outside source come and take a look at it, that's what they're going to come up with."
But police officials say the increases downtown and on the North Side are simply due to more officers working those beats.
"These numbers reflect the accountability of officers," MPD spokeswoman Cyndi Barrington told the Strib. "Chief [Janeé] Harteau and the command staff have directed the officers to focus on crime. If there's an increase in burglary in a certain area, then there's more directed patrol in the alleyways."
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