Democratic senator to crime victim: ‘Not a lot that we can do’

The first-term senator said she supports fully funding the police but claimed she can’t do much at the state level to reduce crime.

Sen. Ann Johnson Stewart speaks to a constituent who had two of his cars broken into while he was at home with his family. (Sen. Ann Johnson Stewart/Facebook)

A Minnesota state senator said “there’s just not a lot that we can do” when she was confronted by a constituent about rising crime in her district.

The constituent, identified as Andy, said both of his cars were “ransacked” while he was at home with his family about a month ago.

David Petrashov, 25, and Lavina Renville, 32, were arrested in connection to the burglary. Petrashov has been convicted of 15 felonies since 2015, Crime Watch Minneapolis reports.

“Some people have dismissed this as non-violent, but the people who robbed us had guns in their car and a whole hotel room full of guns,” Andy said.

Sen. Ann Johnson Stewart, a Democrat from Minnetonka, responded by detailing her own history as a victim of crime.

“I will have to tell you that in 27 years, we’ve had our garage broken into three times and our cars rifled through four times. And that didn’t just happen this year. So I respect your opinion, but I do have 27 years of experience to tell you that it really hasn’t been safe to keep your garage and your cars unlocked for a long time,” she said during a Jan. 24 town hall.

Her constituent took issue with this characterization, since theft is up across the board in Minnetonka, according to Crime Watch.

The first-term senator said she supports fully funding the police but claimed she can’t do much at the state level to reduce crime.

“I support that very much even though at the state level it’s not really in my jurisdiction. At the state level, we don’t have much that we can do to impact local government aid (LGA) for police. The LGA equation or formula has been well established and I very much appreciate what both Minnetonka and Plymouth police departments do. We just, in terms of crime, I’m sorry, Andy, there’s just not a lot that we can do at the state level,” she said.

This is similar to how Gov. Tim Walz responded when a group of Minneapolis residents begged him for state assistance in fighting crime.

“The governor shares their urgency to improve public safety and meets with community leaders in north Minneapolis on this issue. However, the State Patrol and Minnesota National Guard are not a substitute for a qualified local police department,” the governor’s office responded.

Andy also argued that Johnson Stewart’s support for reforming the cash bail system in Minnesota has emboldened criminals who think they will “get a slap on the wrist and get out of jail.”

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