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Southside neighbors in Minneapolis call on city to address public safety concerns

Times have changed in the area with the sounds of more police sirens and gunshots sending stray bullets into homes.

MINNEAPOLIS — Neighbors in south Minneapolis say they're worried about recent crime, as crime reports continue to skyrocket citywide.

"I've been here 35 years and the block has actually been a really nice block," said Karen Forbes who lives in the Central Neighborhood. 

However, times have changed in the area with the sounds of more police sirens and gunshots sending stray bullets into homes.

"One went through the wall and then the other one went through the window frame," explained Forbes. 

In the Bancroft Neighborhood, it's a similar situation. 

"Had the front door broken in. Somebody barged in, luckily the alarm went off and the security system was able to call the police," said Bill Rodriguez. 

Amid fear and frustration over the spike in crime, residents on the south side reached out to the city's Public Safety Committee during a meeting Thursday with a proposal to help.

"We were hoping that they would listen to us," said Forbes. 

But their ideas weren't heard.

"This is the public safety committee meeting that we're talking about, but they didn't want to take public comments on public safety," said Rodriguez. 

In a statement from the City's Clerk, Casey Carl, the reasoning for this was explained:

Today’s Public Health & Safety Committee meeting did not include an open comment period. There was only one period during today’s meeting where the public could provide comments, and that was as part of a public hearing on a proposed food catering ordinance. The City has an obligation to ensure all of its public meetings comply with the law and that full and fair access is available to anyone interested in participating. State statute requires us to provide a minimum of three days public notice prior to a public comment period, and today’s staff presentation on transforming public safety did not include public comment.

To comment at a committee meeting, people must sign up in advance on the City website

Using that online form, some people entered ‘open comment period’ for the agenda item, which wasn’t on the agenda. (You can see the committee meeting agenda at http://lims.minneapolismn.gov/MarkedAgenda/PHS/1954.) 

We understand a number of people were hoping to make comments about public safety at this meeting, and with the Chair’s direction, we are individually reaching out to all those who had registered for today’s meeting and helping them register to speak first as part of a publicly noticed comment period at the next meeting of the Public Health & Safety Committee set for 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 8.

 "They easily could've suspended the rules and said ok you're here, technicality, lets let you speak anyway, they said no way ain't going to happen," said Rodriguez. 

"They got for this initiative, this violence prevention initiative they got $1.1 million to prevent violence or whatever well excuse me but I haven't seen any prevention of violence," said Forbes. 

With neighborhoods riddled with violence and its residents on edge, residents say they won't be silenced until their streets are once again safe. 

"You really need to emerge with a sixty day emergency plan that addresses what's going on, more protection, more deterrents and better results than we're getting now," said Rodriguez. 

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