WATCH – ‘Staggering’ surge in violent carjackings continues across Minneapolis amid continuing efforts to defund the police, and mass resignations

Minneapolis Star Tribune:

Such attacks were up 537% compared with last November, worrying residents. 

A housekeeper arriving early to her shift in south Minneapolis was confronted by two hooded teenagers outside her driver’s side window.

One pointed a gun at her head, demanding that she get out, before firing three shots: two ricocheted off the window and a third struck her side-view mirror.

The woman threw her car into reverse, sending the teens fleeing in the stolen car they arrived in, the latest in a series of brazen attempted armed robberies and carjackings in a wave that is stretching across the city. Minneapolis residents are grappling with a triple-digit percentage increase in these crimes, and incidents occurring at all hours, including broad daylight.

“She was completely traumatized,” the woman’s employer, Kathy Higgins Victor, said of the Nov. 27 incident. “It’s just so bold.”

Over the past two months, Minneapolis police have logged more than 125 carjackings in the city, a troubling surge that authorities had largely linked to small groups of marauding teens. But an increasing number of adults have been arrested in recent weeks for the same crime.

Within a one-hour period Saturday morning, police reported three separate carjackings in southeast Minneapolis, including one where an elderly woman was struck on the head. Such attacks are up 537% this month when compared with last November.

“The numbers are staggering,” said police spokesman John Elder. “It defies all civility and any shred of common human decency.”

Police say suspects tend to approach victims on the street, sidewalk or parking lot — often while they’re distracted with routine tasks. A significant number of armed stickups have targeted seniors and unaccompanied women at their vehicles on Minneapolis’ South Side.

MPD didn’t specifically track this type of crime until Sept. 22 because they were so infrequent. Previous cases fell under the larger umbrella of robberies and auto theft. The agency created a new coding system after the summer months yielded an unusually high number of attacks.

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“These suspects have been known to ask for directions, then rob the victim of a purse, phone or car,” read an MPD crime alert issued last month in the Third Precinct. It advised residents to be aware of their surroundings and carry only essentials.

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The spree comes amid a nearly unprecedented spike in violent crime, particularly shootings, since the May 25 killing of George Floyd in police custody and the civil unrest that followed.

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From her kitchen window, a Tangletown resident spotted a red sedan roll up on the 300 block of W. Elmwood Place, then lurch to a stop in the middle of the street.

Two boys, thought to be juveniles, got out of the car and approached a woman sitting in her SUV. A bystander captured a dramatic image of the suspects as one raised a gun toward her head. “Get out, get out!” they yelled, according to home surveillance audio obtained by the Star Tribune.

“Despite holding up photos of her young children and pleading for her life, two young men shot her car and the driver’s side window three times,” Higgins Victor recounted Tuesday in an e-mail to the Minneapolis City Council. “By the grace of God, she was not physically harmed.”

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Incredibly, the city council still wants to further its “defund the police” efforts, which it has been pursuing aggressively since June of this year. In the final days of November, they just announced another motion to take away another $8 million funding from the police and use the money for other ends.

More than 100 officers have left the Minneapolis Police Department this year alone.

More at The Minneapolis Star Tribune

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