Victims of crime came face-to-face with Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey at City Hall last week to confront him on his approach to public safety.
More than 20 crime victims from across the city urged Frey to show his support for police, evaluate his messaging, and declare the crime crisis a public safety emergency.
Julie Wicklund was the victim of a home invasion in December in the Lynnhurst neighborhood. She was home with her daughter on a Sunday afternoon when a man with a gun walked in with a list of demands. Ultimately, the suspect got away with her purse, laptop, and phone.
What happened to Wicklund that day led her to form a public safety group she calls Safe Streets Now for a Better Tomorrow. The group believes safety is needed now and that solutions can’t wait another day.
The group has grown to 1,000 members on Facebook. Wicklund was Liz Collin’s guest last week on her podcast.
More than 20 of the group’s members who are crime victims themselves spoke with Mayor Frey on Thursday afternoon at City Hall. One was a mother whose son was murdered in a shooting; another mother spoke whose son was shot in a carjacking.
Wicklund said Frey appeared “shaken and compassionate” while hearing their stories.
Overall, the group doesn’t believe Frey is conveying the severity of the problem and pleaded with him to do a better job of providing information to the public. In response, he said that he provides bi-weekly updates but that the media doesn’t always cover them.
Wicklund told Alpha News that they also urged Frey to start publicly supporting the police, going to roll calls, and telling officers that he has their backs. Frey seemed receptive to the suggestions, Wicklund said.
Wicklund said the group also believes the city should reach out to other jurisdictions for help with extra patrols or investigations. As Alpha News reported, the number of patrol officers has been cut in half in the last two years.
Frey told them that he’s tried to ask for outside help but hasn’t heard back. He also said Hennepin County hasn’t provided routine assistance, according to Wicklund.
“Somehow that loop needs to be closed,” Wicklund said.
“He laid out the things that he is doing, but none of them are solving the problem for the now,” she added.
Wicklund said her group is also concerned with the number of community organizations that have been hired by the city to help combat violence and wants to know if they are really working.
In all, the meeting lasted less than an hour.
Some members of Safe Streets Now hope to meet with him again in six weeks.
Alpha News reached out for comment from Mayor Frey’s office on the meeting but did not hear back.
Minneapolis recorded a near-record number of homicides last year and more than 600 carjackings.
Crime Watch Minneapolis reports that this year hasn’t fared much better. In February alone, the city had more than 30 carjackings in the first three weeks of the month.