Minneapolis police warn residents to ‘be prepared to give up’ phones and cash

In Minneapolis, a city that stands on the precipice of disbanding its police department in the wake of George Floyd’s death, a wave of robberies and carjackings has law enforcement advising its residents to “be prepared to give up” their property.

Last week, KSTP-TV reported the recent crime wave has seen criminals targeting victims for smartphones, handbags and their vehicles. Lest we think this is the usual fare, the station reported “victims have been maced, dragged, assaulted and some threatened with a gun,” according to police.

July saw 100 muggings and 20 carjackings in the city’s  Third Precinct alone, leading to the police issuing some very stark warnings to residents.

According to a police fact sheet advising residents how to deal with crime, the force recommends to “[b]e prepared to give up your cellphone and purse or wallet” and “[d]on’t fight with criminal[s], remember your safety is most important.”

That’s not necessarily bad advice; possessions can be replaced. However, that’s also not the defeatist-sounding message most people want to hear coming out of police after a rash of robberies and carjackings — particularly as the city takes steps toward an unprecedented move to disband the police department and replace it with an unknown entity.

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To humanize what’s happening here, it’s helpful to look at what happened to a man known as “Casey.”

According to WCCO-TV, Casey (he declined to have his last name used) had arrived at his Uptown apartment just after midnight on Saturday when he noticed a group of people loitering in the parking lot.

“Went up to my apartment door like they were going to go in or they were waiting for somebody,” Casey told the station. “I put my backpack on and took my eyes off them for a second and that was all they needed.”

That’s when they took his keys and his wallet. To ensure he didn’t fight back, they pointed a gun at his head and then pepper-sprayed him.

“It didn’t seem real. I thought, ‘OK, I want to live through this,’ so I cooperated with them,” he said.

Later in the day, Casey’s Mercedes was spotted by St. Paul police, who initiated a chase. It ended with them talking three suspects out of a house; all three were either 12 or 13. Casey, meanwhile, maintains there were five individuals involved.

“It used to be a really good neighborhood, a really good place to live,” Casey said of the neighborhood where he’s lived for five years. “It definitely seems like there is an atmosphere in Uptown that things are getting kind of bad.”

It’s not just Casey’s block, either.

According to KARE-TV, as of Saturday, there’ve been almost twice as many homicides in Minneapolis as last year, 41 as compared to 21 in all of 2019. The 288 shooting victims isn’t just the most in the past five years, it’s the most by far; in 2016, the second-highest year in the last half-decade, there were 178.

On June 26, according to the nonprofit news site MinnPost, the Minneapolis City Council voted to send a proposal to the Minneapolis Charter Commission to officially disband the police.

This doesn’t mean that Minneapolis will turn in an anarchist state, mind you, but it does mean that — should the measure eventually end up on the ballot and get passed — a city seized with paroxysms of left-wing sentiment will completely remake its mechanisms of law enforcement.

If it does so, it’ll have remake those mechanisms on the fly with a demoralized police department and a crime spike, two problems I doubt will go away in the near future.

In other words, I’d remember “[b]e prepared to give up your cellphone and purse or wallet” for a little while now. It’s sound advice, mind you.

In a perfect universe — or in a city where crime was spiking — it’s advice we wouldn’t have to take.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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