MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - Minneapolis police say thieves in two neighborhoods south of downtown have been targeting people getting in and out of their vehicles.
In a warning issued on Friday, the department is warning residents in the Ventura Village and Midtown Phillips neighborhoods to take some simple precautions to avoid being victimized.
According to police, they have received multiple reports of armed suspects targeting people sitting in their vehicles or people getting in or out of their vehicles parked on the street.
Investigators say, in most cases, the robberies have occurred during the late afternoon or early evening (between 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.) and often the crooks are demanding the victims' keys, wallets, phones, and passwords to their phones.
Police say they have set up cameras in at least one area and will conduct "proactive focused enforcement details" in crime hotspots.
At the same time, police are encouraging drivers to take some steps to avoid being victimized. They include:
- Keep car doors locked at all times. (There have been confirmed cases where this has stopped the robbery!)
- Scrolling and using your phone while sitting in your car makes you an easy target. Stay aware of your surroundings.
- Have a multi-factor authentication for money apps (bank accounts, Venmo, PayPal, CashApp) on your phone.
- Plan ahead, notify others of your ETA.
- If you think someone is following you while you’re in your car, keep driving! Go to a safe place such as a police station or open business.
- Be a good witness. Try to remember license plate numbers, vehicle and suspect description, and direction they fled.
- Call 911 to report these incidents. If you see something, say something to 911. Resources and personnel will be better deployed this way
- Get to know your neighbors. Start or reenergize your block club so that information sharing is immediate and accurate.
This is the second alert that Minneapolis police have issued in the third precinct this month. On August 15, the department warned residents about an increase in robberies in carjackings in the Bryant, Bancroft, Regina and Northrop neighborhoods. The warning also came the same day as FOX 9 heard from nurses at Children's Minnesota about recent crime impacting the hospital.