MINNEAPOLIS — Minneapolis leaders announced a new data-driven program Thursday in an effort to reduce crime across the city.
The announcement comes after several reported shootings over the past week, including a deadly shooting Thursday morning near the intersection of Groveland Avenue and Nicollet Avenue.
During a press conference Thursday, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey unveiled a new initiative called "Operation Endeavor," a program that will use data to determine the areas most impacted by crime, and allocating additional resources to those areas.
"This plan goes well beyond the walls of city hall," Frey said. "We're working hand-in-hand with our state and our federal partners... and we're even working directly in the private sector and a number of other community leaders, including our U.S. Attorney."
Frey was joined by Minneapolis Community Safety Commissioner Cedric Alexander, Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, Minneapolis Police Department Interim Chief Amelia Huffman, MPD Commander Jason Case and Officer of Violence Prevention Manager Jen White.
"This will be a multijurisdictional group comprised of uniformed MPD patrol officers, plain clothes investigators, state and federal law enforcement partners, analysts, prosecutors, violent prevention and outreach groups, and private businesses," said Alexander. "I have been meeting with each of these respective partners and I can clearly tell you everyone is committed to this approach."
Alexander added that the new plan will utilize data to determine the areas most impacted by criminal activity, beginning with downtown Minneapolis, where six people were shot in separate shootings early Saturday morning.
"I want to be clear, it's not just focused on downtown," Alexander said. "This plan allows us to be flexible and to use our resources where they're most needed and on any given day or time, we are here to support the entire city."
Alexander emphasized that the initiative won't displace officers from other areas, but instead will use more internal resources, including the Office of Violence Prevention and the Department of Public Safety.
DPS Commissioner John Harrington broke down Operation Endeavor into three categories: intervention, prevention and accountability.
"Those who are unable to live with us civilly, need to be held accountable for their behavior," Harrington said.
Frey said the city has allocated between $1 million and $1.2 million for a recruiting campaign to bring in additional officers.
"That's part of what Operation Endeavor is attacking in the immediacy is to making sure that we are deploying what resources we have as strategically as possible, using the data and then providing this kind of flexible approach so that we're better able to react to what we're seeing on the ground in real-time," Frey said. "We're also making sure to partner in a way we have not done before, to this extent. We've always had partnerships on a multijurisdictional level, we're looking to take it to the next level in working with a number of these different entities."
Operation Endeavor also involves partnerships with faith leaders, including Rev. Jerry McAfee of New Salem Baptist Church, a founder of the "21 Days of Peace" campaign. He said he's been working lately to reach young people in the community who may be at risk of committing violence.
"We've made some strides but we're looking to make more," McAfee said. "If it's jobs they need, if it's treatment they need, we can get you the help you need. But we've got to stop killing each other."
Meanwhile, business owners across the city will be watching to see how Operation Endeavor works in practice.
David Fhima, chef at Fhima's Minneapolis in the heart of downtown, said he's encouraged by the plan.
"We've got to support it. At first glance, everything I hear about it gets me excited," Fhima said. "You start fixing it by talking about it. Let this leadership do what it's supposed to do. And if it's not working, we can all be critical, but being critical of something that hasn't started yet, that's not how I do it."
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