St. Paul Fears Gang Upsurge

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A spate of shootings in Minnesota’s Twin Cities over the past week has police paying closer attention to gang activity and on alert for what could be a violent summer. “We have all the constituent parts for this to be a bad summer,” said St. Paul Police Cmdr. John Harrington, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. “We have high unemployment, we have stress on families, particularly… families (with loved ones) in the military service or incarcerated.” In St. Paul, police are piecing together three Monday shootings involving rival gangs – the Selby Sides and the Lowertown Gangsters. Despite the recent incidents, the Twin Cities’ crime toll is relatively low so far this year. There have been four homicides in St. Paul and none was directly related to gang activity. Minneapolis has had 10 homicides, of which four were believed to be gang-related. Last year at this time, Minneapolis had 12 homicides, and a much higher percentage of them were gang-related. By August,19 of 24 homicides were gang-related, prompting stepped-up law enforcement and the reinstitution of a federally funded program to divert at-risk youth into positive community activities.


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