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Mpls police, mayor reveal strategy to combat surge in murders and robberies

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Minneapolis leaders set out a plan Friday to crack down on the recent surge in violent crime, which will include the creation of a new team of top city investigators.

KARE 11 reports Mayor Betsy Hodges and police chief Janee Harteau revealed their strategy in the wake of multiple fatal shootings and armed robberies seen across the city in the past two months.

Included is the creation of a new "Violent Crimes Investigation Team" that will comprise of six of the city's most experienced and successful investigators drawn from various departments, who will probe "every gun crime and shooting in the city."

They will work closely with the city's six member gang squad, which was set up earlier this year following a spate of gang-related killings, and part of their focus will be on repeat offenders and victims known to police.

"We know that often the people involved in violent offenses, as suspects or witnesses, have been involved in more than one offense or multiple violent offenses," Hodges said. "Often when you solve for one violent crime, you solve for several."

Another initiative will see the County Attorney's office designate a "seasoned prosecutor" to specifically prosecute perpetrators of violent crimes, particularly those responsible for multiple offenses.

"We have had 208 more violent crimes reported in our City this year. We do not accept, nor will we tolerate, the violence we have seen, and we will continue to be aggressive in our enforcement efforts and crime-prevention strategies" Chief Harteau said in a press release.

Violent crime on the rise in Minneapolis

By the end of October there had been 39 homicides in Minneapolis, according to MPD figures, which is well ahead of the 29 that had been confirmed during the same period in 2014.

There were six homicides in October alone, five of which occurred over a period of just six days.

Police say the killings haven't been concentrated in one specific area, and in most of the cases the suspect and victim new each other, but FOX 9 reports that provides little in the way of reassurance to residents living in affected neighborhoods.

Harteau has previously said the "common denominator ... is gun violence," the TV station notes, adding: "Gun violence is taking over the streets."

Police have also been dealing with a string of armed robberies in recent weeks, with three pharmacies hit in Uptown on Wednesday, while members of the Latino community in south Minneapolis have been targeted by street robbers.

Mayor Hodges say she is speaking with the Hennepin County Sheriff and corrections offices, the city park board and public schools, and members of faith and nonprofit communities, for an "even more comprehensive strategy of focused intervention" when it comes to violent crime and offenders.

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