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Minneapolis police will launch gang unit to tackle summer crime

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Minneapolis police will have its own gang crime unit in a bid to curb the shootings that have been plaguing the city over recent summers.

Chief Janeé Harteau made what KSTP described as a "surprising" announcement before a city council committee Wednesday, telling council members the team would have five officers and a sergeant.

The TV station notes that Minneapolis has not had a gang crime unit for several years.

It comes after a succession of summers that has brought high numbers of gang-related shootings in the city.

Harteau hopes the gang crime unit will be able to "prevent the next shooting" by using officers' knowledge to predict and prevent retaliatory incidents.

"When we have an incident that occurs, we will have a team of people that can go out and understand who is shooting at who," she told the Star Tribune. "And our goal is to prevent the next shooting."

Details about the unit's exact role are limited, but the newspaper reports it will be regularly tracking gang activity across the city, freeing up more officers to handle emergency calls and community engagement.

Minneapolis police recently stepped up its patrols in south Minneapolis following a spate of shootings, including the deaths of 17-year-old student Maurice Brown and 21-year-old Ayan Abdulahi, and a double homicide in north Minneapolis.

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