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Report: Minneapolis carjackings surge 537% amid police defunding talks

The Minneapolis Police. (Tony Webster, Wikimedia Commons/Released)
December 04, 2020

Violent carjackings in Minneapolis increased 537 percent in November, a jump law enforcement officials called “staggering.”

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that over the last two months, police in Minneapolis reported over 125 carjackings in the city. The surge is largely connected to small groups of teenagers, but the number of adults arrested in connection to carjackings has increased in recent weeks.

On one Saturday alone, city police logged three individual carjackings in the southeast region of the Minneapolis, including one incident in which an elderly woman was struck in the head.

“The numbers are staggering,” police spokesman John Elder said. “It defies all civility and any shred of common human decency.”

Law enforcement believe suspects usually approach distracted victims on the street, sidewalk, or in a parking lot, with a large number targeting senior citizens and women on Minneapolis’ South Side.

“These suspects have been known to ask for directions, then rob the victim of a purse, phone or car,” an MPD crime alert issued last month in the Third Precinct said.

The city has experienced at least 375 carjackings in 2020, over three times the number of carjackings in 2019.

According to the Star Tribune, authorities created a new coding system in response to the dramatic increase in attacks over the summer months.

The surge comes following the death of George Floyd while in custody of the Minneapolis Police department – an event that spurred nationwide demonstrations and civil unrest.

Over 500 people have been shot in the city in 2020, double the number of shooting victims in 2019, and murders have increased by over 50 percent. Minneapolis has also reached 5,000 violent crimes this year, the most in five years, the Star Tribune reported.

Still, the jump in violent crime didn’t stop the Minneapolis City Council from proposing to defund the police by transferring $8 million in funding to other services.

The transfer would include roughly 5 percent being given to a mental health crisis team, as well as violence prevention.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey reportedly said the proposal was “irresponsible and untenable.”

“This notion that in order to have a more comprehensive public safety strategy you have to do away with one critical element, which is police, is wrong,” Frey said.

Police Chief Medaria Arrandondo echoed the major’s concerns, stating that the rise in crime was happening throughout the midwestern city.

“Crime is occurring, the shootings, the carjackings, the robberies. They are citywide, they are impacting everyone, and not just one constituency base and not just one neighborhood,” he said.