City cracks down on Hennepin Avenue crime

A new program launched on Saturday, targeting safety and livability issues on Hennepin Avenue in downtown Minneapolis.

The city, the Downtown Council and the group MAD DADS are among the partners that launched a program to help everybody’s safety, especially during the day.

Instances of catcalling and public intoxication can make a downtown visit uncomfortable, even threatening for people.

The effort has several prongs, including law enforcement and outreach.

Though Saturday was beautiful, weather-wise, it also highlighted some of the problems.

When Fox 9’s Samuel King went to inspect the area, ambassadors with the Downtown Improvement District and paramedics had stopped to help a woman who appeared to be under the influence.

It’s this type of intervention on quality of life issues that city leaders hope will make a difference along Hennepin Avenue.

“We’ve got a lot of stuff going on,” V.J. Smith, president of MAD DADS told King. “We’ve got people coming downtown with grief, with trauma, with poverty, they’re coming down with depression. They’re coming down with homelessness.”

Smith said his organization is proud to join the partnership to make Hennepin Avenue more safe and inviting. He believes that with groups like his connecting people to resources for jobs and health care, it can alleviate some of the tension.

Mayor Betsy Hodges is also supporting a bill at the Capitol that would allow officers to enforce court orders that would keep defendants from being in areas where they’ve committed multiple offenses, including downtown.