City, law enforcement, community and business partners gathered on Thursday at Mayo Clinic Square on Hennepin Avenue to discuss a new plan focused on downtown safety during 2017.

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, mpls downtown council/mpls downtown improvement district president & ceo Steve Cramer, Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Jonathan Weinhagen, Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau and YouthLink outreach manager Jose Acunas were joined by outreach partners, law enforcement, public officials and more for the announcement.

The safety initiative will include added law enforcement and MDID Ambassadors presence along Hennepin Avenue for a longer stretch than normal—typically, added presence runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day, but in 2017 it begins April 3 and runs through the end of October.

The Commuter Block Post piece of the initiative is a new partnership between MDID and MPD. For the time period of the plan, added MPD officer or MDID Ambassador presence will be visible on each block between 5th and 10th streets from 6:30-9:30 am and from 3-6 pm.

The approach focuses on Outreach, Activation, Legislative Solutions and Law Enforcement.

Outreach engagement includes:

  • MADDADS, the MDID Livability team and Summit Academy are adding outreach teams to Hennepin Avenue
  • The Youth Coordinating Board is extending hours for its outreach team
    • The work of these teams is in addition to the ongoing work of St. Stephen’s Street Outreach and YouthLink outreach
  • Hennepin County is assisting with providing rapid chemical dependency assessments on a voluntary basis for individuals who are willing to seek help.
  • Hennepin County is also providing more resources to help families and children needing shelter or other child welfare intervention.
  • The MDID recently expanded and upgraded its Safety Communications Center, which dispatches outreach teams.
  • The MDID has also unveiled a new smart phone app called ISS, which is a dispatch and incident management system that helps better coordinate work.

Activation includes:

  • Creating placemaking projects at the 7th and Hennepin bus stop
  • Youth dialogue and engagements along Hennepin Avenue
  • Seeking funding for activation of a former bus shelter at 3rd street
  • Bringing back the popular Pianos on Parade initiative sponsored by mdc and MDID
  • Seeking funding for Hennepin Theatre Trust’s 5 to 10 program
  • Tactical Urbanism design solutions through MDID, making changes to physical spaces to improve safety and promote positive interactions
  • MDID will regularly convene organizations to plan and promote activities.

Legislative solutions include:

  • Supporting a bill at the Minnesota State Capitol that would allow officers to enforce court orders to restrict some criminal defendants from being in areas where they have repeatedly offended, including downtown

Law enforcement includes:

  • The 1st Precinct will initiate a new Commuter Block Post program
  • Hennepin County Juvenile Probation officers and MPD 1st Precinct officers have joint beats under way that focus on building relationships with youth on probation
  • Metro Transit police are adding joint beats with MPD, beginning earlier than previous years
  • As in years past, the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office will have an increased presence downtown from Memorial Day to Labor Day.