Sections of Minneapolis left virtually unpatrolled amid police shortage

Meanwhile, crime is on the rise as gunshots ring out nightly in the Twin Cities.

A Minneapolis squad car responds to the scene of a crash in February 2020. (Tony Webster/Flickr)

The city of Minneapolis has been unable to meet minimum police staffing requirements amid a personnel crisis.

One day earlier this month, Minneapolis was only able to field four officers during the most busy time of day to patrol its entire Fourth Precinct — which covers the city’s notoriously violent north side. Minneapolis Police Federation head Sherral Schmidt explained to KSTP that this sort of understaffing is disturbingly common.

“In the Fourth Precinct, we fell below the 10-officer-per-shift minimum staffing on 23 of the last 28 scheduled days,” Schmidt told Jay Kolls. This means at almost any given time, police are not able to properly respond to more than one major incident.

The reason for the ongoing staffing difficulties is simple: a precipitous drop in the overall number of officers serving with the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD). In May 2019, the MPD had 912 officers. As of June, it has just 699. This problem stretches beyond Minnesota, too. Nationwide, there has been a 45% increase in officer retirements, 18% increase in resignations and 5% decrease in hiring as compared to last year.

Meanwhile, crime is on the rise as gunshots ring out nightly in the Twin Cities. Homicides are up 64% as compared to last year and there have been nearly 12,000 shots fired in Minneapolis striking 288 people, per KSTP.

Some instances of crime are especially horrific. Recently, two Twin Cities residents have been discovered dismembered, cut to pieces in apparently separate incidents. Six young children ages 10 and under have also been struck by gunfire this summer as gangs battle for control of the unpoliced streets.

Minnesota Democrats remain largely silent on the crime wave after calling for the police to be defunded since George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer last year. Those who have spoken out mostly blame the problem on guns. President Joe Biden echoed this sentiment recently, calling for more legal restrictions to be leveled against firearm owners.