MINNETONKA, Minn. (FOX 9) - As west Twin Cities metros continue to deal with an increase in crime, the mayor of Minnetonka is calling for better prosecution of non-violent property crimes.
Neighbors say break-ins involving cars and garages are on the rise. A Ring video shared with FOX 9 shows one of the incidents involving a burglar rummaging through a vehicle during the day. Residents say this was not the only incident during that time frame.
"This is such a safe neighborhood and I felt it was pretty gutsy of this person," said Trudy Schnorr. "It was still light out, we have a long driveway. So they just walked up and walked back."
Schnorr says her daughter's car was broken into and her wallet stolen, all while her daughter was inside for just 15 minutes. "The person on NextDoor said they saw someone going down the driveway getting into an SUV and taking off, so they must have been just driving around parking going up down checking for unlocked cars."
Victims of break-ins and those noticing suspicious activity at their homes say these crimes are not just happening on one street, or one neighborhood but are becoming more widespread, and more talked about.
The mayor of Minnetonka is one of several mayors reaching out to the Hennepin County Attorney for help when it comes to keeping these criminals off the street.
"We believe that these serious but non-violent crimes need to be prosecuted, and they are not being prosecuted to the degree that they should be," said Mayor Brad Wiersum.
In a statement, the Hennepin County Attorney says: "We have dedicated specific attorneys to these cases, both for adult and juvenile perpetrators, to ensure that we can prosecute the cases more swiftly and make sure that all neighborhoods are safer from these crimes."
While law enforcement and local leaders work to keep these criminals off the street, the message to residents is: while you're home, even during the day, keep your garages closed and doors locked -- even if you've never felt you needed to before.
"When our residents have this happen to them, they feel unsafe in our city and that we can’t allow that to exist," said the mayor. "We say that public safety is job one."
Full statement from Hennepin County Attorney's Office
The Hennepin County Attorney supports the need for a regional, collaborative effort to respond to the increase in carjackings and crime. We take our oath to uphold and enforce the law seriously. Therefore, when one of these cases is submitted to our office for review, we do everything within our power and authority to protect the citizens of Hennepin County by charging and prosecuting these crimes to the fullest extent of the law.
We have dedicated specific attorneys to these cases, both for adult and juvenile perpetrators, to ensure that we can prosecute the cases more swiftly and make sure that all neighborhoods are safer from these crimes. Most importantly, we are adding advocacy services that will be proactive in reaching out to victims and neighborhoods as soon as we know this crime has been committed.
We would like to get all of the carjacking criminals off the streets. In adult cases, our prosecutors routinely request that judges set significant bail in the hopes of keeping these dangerous perpetrators out of the community until their case is resolved. In juvenile cases, our attorneys routinely ask that serious offenders be held in custody and, where appropriate, also certified to stand trial as adults.
The Fourth Judicial District Court Judges are ultimately responsible for setting bail, making hold decisions, and certifying serious offenders as adults. If someone is able to post bail for their charges or convince a judge that they should not be held in custody, they are released from custody until their next court appearance.
Our office remains committed to doing everything we can to pursue accountability and consequences for these crimes. We have been and will continue to work proactively with law enforcement agencies to investigate these crimes and develop prevention strategies.