Kingfield Crime and Safety Meeting
Wednesday, May 17
Attendance: 6 Kingfield residents (including representatives from two Citizen Patrol walking groups).
MPD: Tom Thompson, Community Safe Officer
KFNA Staff: Joanna S. Hallstrom, Project Organizer – KFNA
Hallstrom handed out the April Kingfield crime map and Thompson opened discussion about incidents in the neighborhood. Residents asked about a shooting on 44th and Nicollet. Thompson was unaware of this incident or who was responsible. He stated that the Vatos Locs gang is thought to be responsible for the drive by shooting at 38th and Nicollet (no one was seriously injured in this incident). It was also stated that even though there isn’t proof that the homicide victim found at 38th and Nicollet a few months ago was shot in Kingfield it is reported as a homicide in our neighborhood – thus Kingfield has a total of two homicides in 2006.
The main topic of discussion was surrounding criminal activity around Pump and Munch and Westrums Tavern at 44th and Nicollet Ave. Residents who live near buy reported being awoken from sleep two to three night a week at 2:00am and 3:00am from loud disruptive activity at or around Westrums. Residents questioned the hours of operation of the bar and why such activity continues so early into the morning. Residents have witnessed drug dealing at both locations and frustrated at the responses from the business owner of the Pump and Munch to take action and by the lack of police response to 911 calls.
When asked what a gas station could do to address such activities Thompson gave explained what the Super America at 35th and Nicollet did to address similar issues:
Install exterior surveillance system
Hired an outside firm to monitor the system
The firm could communicate via a PA system and speak directly to customers – this relieved the pressure on gas station workers and fear of retaliation/harm if workers tried to confront disruptive behavior.
Programmed the gas pumps that so a credit card could only be used twice in a 24-hour period.
The group discussed what steps they can take to address/confront the issues at 44th and Nicollet. Thompson suggested setting up a meeting with the business owner of Westrums first. To have an open discussion and inform the owner about resident concerns regarding the business. It was agreed that Hallstrom will invite the owner of Westrums to the next Crime and Safety Task Force meeting. Hallstrom will also bring documentation of Kingfield Neighborhood Association’s agreement with Westrums that was written up in order for KFNA to support their liquor license.
Residents are very concerned about the increase of gang activity in the neighborhood. When asked if gang members are living in the neighborhood or just passing through, Thompson noted that there is an increase of gang members residing in Kingfield. Particularly members of the Troop Squad, who live around MLK Park but Thompson noted that it is very hard to confirm the addresses of the Latino gangs because of the lack of ID, and limits to the police’s ability to confirm addresses (Surenos 13, Vatos Locos and the Latin Kings are the most active Latino gangs in the area). One resident asked Thompson if it was safe for her kids to bike around the block by themselves. This was a difficult question for Thompson to address and shared that philosophically if people hide inside and avoid places of concern, criminal activity will increase. He stated that it is important for people to be present and active in their neighborhood. Due the location of where this woman lived and known gang members in her area, Thompson recommend that she accompany her children on bike rides. He stated that most violent crimes involving gang members are gang on gang and no random acts.
Thompson gave an overview of the Minneapolis Police Chief Dolan and Mayor Rybak’s Safe Summer Initiative. The Safe Summer Initiative time frame is between May 15 and Novembers. Five neighborhoods were selected to receive extra policing support for their period. The neighborhoods include three in North Minneapolis and Central and Phillips Neighborhoods in South Minneapolis. The major concern is that police pressure on these areas cause criminal activity to spill over into bordering neighborhoods – displacing crime. Thompson reported that the good news is that Precinct 5 was given some buy back funding to increase police support at certain designated criminal hot spots. The following areas will receive this extra policing:
Uptown business node and residential area
Nicollet Ave. from Lake street to 44th street (through Kingfield).
Lake street around Wendy’s Restaurant and Pleasant Ave.
Hallstrom has confirmed two Citizen Patrol Coordinators for the two of the three walking groups (Hallstrom trained on KFNA’s third Citizen Patrol last Friday). The coordinators will organize their Citizen Patrol throughout the summer.
Hallstrom also confirmed that Shawna Gibson; new KFNA board member will chair the Crime and Safety Task Force starting mid summer. Hallstrom will work with Thompson and Gibson to identify a meeting time that works with for both of them and the Crime and Safety meeting time will be adjusted accordingly.
Hallstrom will invite the owner of Westrums to the July 21st Crime and Safety meeting
Hallstrom will also invite a board member that was present when Westrums was applying for their liqueur license to be there for background history.
Hallstrom will located the agreement Kingfield made with Westrums
Jennifer Spraque will lead the July 21st meeting in Hallstrom absence (Hallstrom will be on maternity leave)
Lynn Salmon-Easter will coordinate a supplemental Citizen Patrol training sometime this summer. She will be contacting V.J. Smith of MADD to invite him to do the training.
Summer Safety Strategy Meeting: Thursday, May 25th, Phelps Park, 3900 Chicago Ave. S., 7-8:30pm.
Sponsored by the 8th Ward City Council office
Minutes completed by Joanna S. Hallstrom – KFNA