Minneapolis neighborhood plans to pay for extra police patrols

A group of neighbors in south Minneapolis is taking matters into their own hands to increase policing in their neighborhood.

The group is raising money to pay for extra patrols in the Lowry Hill neighborhood, performed by city officers working overtime.

The program, which was approved by city council last week, would run through the end of the year, the Minneapolis Police Department continues to work to cover a staffing shortage.

The leaders behind the initiative say the actual number of extra police on patrol will depend on how much money they raise and how many officers sign up for the extra shifts.

The initiative comes as the city deals with an increase in crime over the past two years. Homeowners in the neighborhood say they are on edge, trying to be ever more aware of their surroundings.

"I don’t go out at night much anymore," said Scott Plikerd.

Normally they would rely on police to get a handle on the situation, but in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, as of January, the Minneapolis Police Department is short close to 200 of its sworn staff.

"Crime has risen and the police don’t seem able to respond," said Plikerd.

Violent crime in Lowry Hill has increased in the last few years and now some living in the area want to take matters into their own hands, by bringing out their pocketbooks. However, not everyone is on board.

"I don’t agree with it," said Tom Trondson. "It feels very elitist like, 'Oh, let’s just throw money towards the problem so we’re safe."

A group of Lowry Hill residents plans to pay the city for an increased police presence on their side of town. But it won’t be cheap, each home has been asked to pay in $220 per month.

"Being affluent comes with privileges I guess," Plikerd explained.

The police department says its doesn’t make any money off of the program and officers would only volunteer for extra shifts when they aren’t already on the clock, making about $110 per hour.

"Just because I may have a little more disposable income to pay for something safer doesn’t mean I think it’s the right thing to do," said Trondson.

"Resources should be spread equally," added Vivian C.

Several neighbors also voiced concerns that more police wouldn’t make them feel safer.

"I don’t know that increased policing necessarily leads to less crime," added Vivian. "People will be unfairly targeted or profiled."