Minneapolis police stopped fewer suspicious people, suspicious vehicles and traffic scofflaws than usual over the past year, a change that in some neighborhoods resulted in police stops falling by about half, reports the city’s Star Tribune. Police made about 44,000 of the stops citywide for the first half of this year, down from 66,000 in the same period last year. The decline has been more acute in some areas. For example, stops for traffic violations downtown have fallen by 53 percent.
Chief Janeé Harteau cited the department's 784 sworn officers, its lowest staffing level in at least 10 years. She also said the drop reflects a change in crime-fighting strategies that she argued doesn't show up in the stats. “I don't want traffic stops just for the sake of traffic stops,” she said. Harteau said she has shifted patrol strategies away from the stops in favor of engagement with the community. Harteau said she plans to push the force's numbers up to 860 officers by year's end. A pension rule change this year drove more officers than usual into retirement.