ince May 2003, members of the Minneapolis Police Department and the city's business community have been working together to increase partnerships and decrease crime in downtown Minneapolis. Private security officers in downtown Minneapolis outnumber city police officers by a ratio of 13 to 1. Increasing communication between the private security and public police helps the city meet its goals of reducing crime and securing a safer environment for the citizens. Rather than being merely an afterthought, private security is a true partner of the police department, creating a visible crime deterrent presence along with the police.
The Minneapolis Downtown Security Collaborative, as it is known, has five main initiatives, each of which is new to the city.
- Police officers are training private security officers in several areas, including citizen's arrest, verbal judo, incident report writing, and suspect detention. The frequency of this training-weekly-allows officers to address crime prevention issues
- Since June 2005 a common radio link has helped connect police and private security. Minneapolis's goal is to ensure that each downtown building with security officers has a police radio on a common channel that is also being monitored by police personnel. Using these radios, building security officers can communicate with one another as well as the police when they see a suspect, for instance, and it helps the two groups work together to detain the suspect.
- An internal Web site, the City WorkSite, allows collaborative members to submit incident reports to the police and the city attorney for immediate review, post suspect renderings and other documents, and share successful tips of the trade with one another.
- Thirty wireless cameras with direct feed into the precinct serving downtown Minneapolis provide coverage 24 hours a day, seven days a week. These cameras cover approximatel30 blocks and are monitored live at the precinct.
- Safe-Zone patrols established by the Minneapolis Police Department, the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office, and the Metropolitan Transit Police take place from noon to 3:00 a.m. to increase uniformed presence on the streets. This collaborative effort enhances the visible police presence and self initiated activity by the officers to reduce crime.
To keep the Downtown Security Collaborative working smoothly, the monthly collaborative meetings include police precinct commanders, leaders from the business community, private security, elected officials, and city staff representatives. The meetings help partners identify common concerns, such as chronic offenders, and develop working solutions to resolve the problems.
These five initiatives, combined with the regular monthly meetings of the collaborative, have helped the city meet its crime-reduction goals: part 1 crimes and quality-of-life crimes decreased.
From April 2005 to August 2005, there were more than 3,950 contacts between police and security personnel. From May2003 to August 2005, Minneapolis developed 420 security partners. As of August 2005, more than 17 training classes had been offered, with approximately 150 participants now ready for certification. The common radio link, started in June 2005, now involves more than 20 radios on the street, and police have made five arrests as a direct result of radio use. On the CityWorkSite there were more than 127 organizational users with 208 individual users.
From April 2005 to August 2005, there were 912 misdemeanor arrests, 147 felony arrests, and 43 curfew arrests, and police took 192 individuals to detoxification programs. Part 1 crimes overall dropped by 17 percent in the first eight months of 2005 as compared to the first eight months of 2004. In addition, with the use of cameras, there was a 44 percent reduction in robbery, a 14 percent reduction in theft from auto, and a 100 percent conviction rate when camera images were used as evidence.
While not every city can implement all the initiatives of the collaborative, certainly many aspects can be used by municipalities of all sizes. It takes some reaching out, but the results speak for themselves. ■
For more information on the Minneapolis Downtown Security Collaborative, call Deputy Chief Lucy Gerold at 612-673-3554.