In view of the considerable increase in crime, the Minneapolis Police Department issued a statement advising citizens to be prepared to hand over their belongings and to obey the orders of criminals, in order to avoid further threats to their safety.
Since May 25, after the death of George Floyd, the city has been devastated by the protests and violence of the protesters. Many demands focused on the budget cuts to the police department and many even expressed the willingness to abolish the police force.
In parallel to increased demands and protests of organized groups, crime also skyrocketed. This generated a state of chaos and panic.
Local police told WCCO that a total of 2,170 vehicles were stolen this year, a 46% increase from the same period last year when the total number of thefts was 1,485. In addition, a total of 886 robberies were recorded, up 36% from the same period in 2019.
Faced with a significant increase in crime, the police sent out a notice to citizens with recommendations on how to act to reduce risk, which sparked some controversy.
Among other things, it says:
- Do not walk alone
- Be prepared to give up your cell phone and wallet
- Don’t fight the criminals and do what they say
- Carry only the items you need and carry less cash
In addition to sending emails to Minneapolis residents, police have distributed instructions through local media. KTSP, “Bring Me The News” and other media outlets have republished the MPD directives word for word.
Currently the population is divided, on the one hand, a minority sector after Floyd’s death mobilized to demand social justice and racial equality and has been holding demonstrations (often violent), demanding a reduction in police presence and the budget, and on the other hand those who are suffering from crime on a daily basis, demand a greater presence and effectiveness of the police.
Following the demand for greater police presence, a Facebook user group created a page in which followers share facts including crime details, search for vehicles and stolen objects, and write down criminals.
The page is filled with personal accounts and witnesses of recent robberies, including many accounts of armed robberies.
Steve Taylor, a South Minneapolis resident who moderates the Uptown Crimes page, told WCCO, “What we’re hearing again and again is people don’t want less public safety, they want better public safety (…) When (City) Council has their own armed security and community members are being robbed at gunpoint often in broad daylight, that just seems unfair.”
Taylor, like so many other neighbors who are victims, feel unprotected and say they need more police presence. Of course, they also demand that the police be reformed, and more efficient. A police force is needed that watches over Minneapolis equally and keeps everyone safe from violent criminals. This is different from the group that wants to reduce or eliminate the police structure.
There is still concern about what was expressed a little over a month ago by Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender when she said in an interview with CNN, “I think the idea of having a police-free future is very aspirational, and I am willing to stand with community members who are asking us to think of that as the goal.”