The “Downtown 33” made life unpleasant for sports fans, shoppers, and others who came to downtown Minneapolis this past summer, says the Minneapolis Star Tribune. City and county officials have concluded that a relatively small number of chronic, low-level offenders were responsible for a sizable chunk of crime — most of it minor — in downtown Minneapolis from mid-April to mid-June, when officials analyzed police data and cracked down on crime in a $736,000 effort to make the city center safer this summer.
Dubbed the “Downtown 33,” the group of offenders was the focus of 20 percent of all police stops the city’s newly created “safe zone” that surrounds the downtown business district. One member of the Downtown 33 was stopped by police 29 times. Of the 752 citations issued by police to the Downtown 33, the largest number — 22 percent — were for consuming alcohol in public. What to do about the Downtown 33 remains unclear. “The system doesn’t know how to deal with these folks,” said Jerry Driessen of Hennepin County’s criminal-justice coordinating committee. “Some of these guys are [getting stopped] two, three times a night.” The study examined how much the Downtown 33 have cost taxpayers. Most have gotten help from social-services agencies. When their costs for revolving in and out of courts and jails are added in, the study concluded, the Downtown 33 have cost taxpayers an estimated $3.7 million in criminal-justice, social-service, and medical care costs.