North Minneapolis man on a mission for safer streets

8:03 PM, Dec 4, 2012   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS -- For Sherman Patterson, North Minneapolis isn't just the source of crime statistics; it is his community, his place, his home.

"Is it frustrating at times? I'm not going to sit here and lie to you yes it is," Patterson said when asked about the crime that seems to be a mainstay on the city's North Side.

For the past 8 years, Sherman has worked by day in the Mayor's office as Mayor R.T. Rybak's public safety liaison and by night on his neighborhood streets in North Minneapolis.

"That's what it's all about, commitment," Patterson said of his dual role.

Patterson was career military until he landed on the North Side.

Love of a woman brought him here.

Love for his community, sparked his commitment to stay and see it change.

North Freemont Avenue and 36th Street isn't a lost cause.

But it's what police refer to as a hot spot area for crime.

On a beautiful afternoon Sherman and I went for a walk around that area and within seconds of us arriving the dozen or so folks loitering around there disappeared.

"Just look at things, all of a sudden it just clears out. The car left and you got a firsthand view of how things happen," Patterson said to me as we stood on that street corner.

Things on the North Side don't happen when police come around, they don't happen when camera crews come in but they do happen.

"You got a corner store, they hang out, use that as cover as going to the store to buy chips but they are dealing drugs," Patterson said of the too obvious pattern that happens at 36th and North Freemont Ave.

A corner store, a major bus route and abandoned house are near that corner and those are ingredients for hot spots.

Hot spots is a term Minneapolis police use for areas that have more than an average amount of police calls for trouble.

Sherman sees it every single day.

Kids with guns are as common as kids without them these days.

"It is so easy for a kid to get a gun," Sherman said disappointedly.

Within fifteen minutes of our walk a mother came out to tell Sherman she won't let her daughter mill around out here because too often, shots are fired.

He didn't argue with her.

He agreed.

"I've been to so many homicides, looking at these kids lying on the street," Sherman told me anguished.

In 2006, 25 young people were murdered in Minneapolis.

It was the leading cause of death in the city for kids ages 15 to 24.

Since then, the numbers went down, but this year kids are shooting again shooting at other kids.

It's a war, Sherman says, he will fight to end.

"Seeing all of that it would be easy to run Jana, say we are going, but that just inspired me more to put on my boots, drive on and make it happen, make good change happen."

(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. )

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