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Tipsheet

'Garbage Can': Residents in Another Minnesota City Say Crime Is Out of Control

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

It's not just the residents in Minneapolis who are growing upset over the high crime rate. During a town hall meeting in St. Paul, community members in the Lowertown neighborhood say crime has gotten out of control there too.

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People at the meeting said the city has become a "garbage can" and unsafe. One man said he is considering obtaining a concealed carry permit for his safety. KSTP reports the majority of speakers said constant, open drug use, public lewdness, burglaries and sexual assaults have created an environment of anxiety and apprehension.

Residents said a contributing factor has been the light rail trains and platforms becoming hubs for crime.

"What you see outside, particularly late at night and into the morning, is a problem, and we obviously had fatal shootings at the next light rail station down the street," one person said.

Another said more transit police are needed to patrol those areas because, "You don’t have anybody on the light rail unless you got a football game, a baseball game or a concert.”

St. Paul Police Central District Commander Jesse Mollner said a problem the department is facing is how it does not have the numbers to respond to 9-1-1 calls in a timely manner.

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"A lot of calls are pending for an inordinate amount of time, and it’s not because the officers have something better to do," Mollner said. "It’s because they’re being called and responding to calls one after another after another."

St. Paul Deputy Police Chief Jack Serier told MinnPost in October of last year, like Minneapolis, they are below the required number of officers due to low recruitment and high numbers of people leaving the department.

"We’ve seen a drop in the number of people who are even eligible to apply for a job at the department and at the same time, we’ve got an increase in the number of people retiring or separating from employment," Serier explained. "So we’ve got two curves that are headed in opposite directions from where they should be for us to be able to fill our needs for new employees."

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