MPD teams up with teens to stop juvenile crime - KMSP-TV

MPD teams up with teens to stop juvenile crime

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There's something new at the Minneapolis Farmers Market -- it's not flowers, art or produce, it's the Minneapolis Police Department teaming up with teens in an effort to keep juvenile crime down.

It was two young teens arrested for the murder of 5-year-old Nizzel George. Crimes like that still hurt the north Minneapolis community where it happened, but that was last year. So far in 2013, not one juvenile has been arrested for homicide.

Eighteen-year-old Miguel Toledo works for the Crime Prevention intern program. He spends his days sending a positive message to other young people, and four years in, he's had several success stories, including turning another teen away from gang life.

"He just saw how I was doing, how I was able to keep my job, go to school , he just saw me become someone better and he just took from that and you, know he got out of the gang," Toledo said.

Overall, juvenile crime has been going down year to year. From 2011 to 2012 homicide, rape, robbery, simple assault and sex offenses have declined. The only increase was seen in aggravated assault and burglary. So far, in 2013, the downward trend in juvenile crime continues.

"As a youth, I can help other people, my peers do better and better themselves and better the community and I really do feel like I'm making a difference," Toledo said.

Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau has been out and about as well -- she seems to be in the neighborhoods in which crimes are committed --- and is very visible in community outreach efforts like this one. Now, she hopes to be a factor in curbing juvenile crime in the city.

"When I was out in the community yesterday, I told them I want to know what do you need to see to make you feel safe? What is it you need to see from me and the other officers to build trust?" she said.

Harteau sees communication as a key ingredient in the solution. The MPD youth outreach tent will be at the farmers market every week until 6:00 p.m.

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