Leaders from three of Minnesota’s professional sports teams recently published an op-ed in The Star Tribune demanding that Minneapolis officials address the rise in crime.
Lester Bagley, executive vice president of public affairs for the Minnesota Vikings, Matt Hoy, senior vice president of operations for the Minnesota Twins, and Ted Johnson, chief strategy officers for the Minnesota Timberwolves, jointly published the op-ed on September 24.
“The reality is, downtown Minneapolis isn’t as safe as it once was. Nothing will stop people from coming downtown more quickly than the perception or reality that it is unsafe. Our professional sports teams are collectively urging Mayor Jacob Frey and the Minneapolis City Council to invest in public safety for downtown Minneapolis,” they write.
The three go on to note that they “are not alone,” pointing out that a recent survey shows that more than 60 percent of Minneapolis residents support expanding the city’s police force.
“The great news is that downtown Minneapolis is growing. But our police force must grow with it. It’s that simple,” they continue.
“It’s easy to take the magic of downtown Minneapolis for granted. But leaders of other cities can tell you from firsthand experience how quickly the reality and perception of crime in a city can spiral out of control, if you let it,” they conclude their article. “Let’s not be that city.”
As The Minnesota Sun reported, a number of business owners in Minneapolis spoke out in August on the rise in violent crimes in downtown Minneapolis. They claimed that Minneapolis turns into a ghost town at night because people are concerned for their safety.
In early September, Minneapolis Police arrested more than a dozen suspected gang members involved in a string of violent robberies and beatings in the downtown area. The police chiefs of both the Minneapolis Police Department and St. Paul Police Department have asked for an increase in officers, but their requests have been largely ignored.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey requested fund for 14 additional law enforcement officers during his August budget address, but Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo requested 400 new officers by 2025. St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter actually proposed cutting five officer positions in his 2020 budget proposal.
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