Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Call For Discussion and Action - How Do We Stop the Violence Now? Part 4 - State Senator and Northsider Linda Higgins Responds

Photo from Higgins for State Senate party

In my ongoing attempts to raise outrage and agitate both conversation and action regarding the unacceptable and unlivable (literally) levels of violence in our community, I sent out a plea to elected officials, appointed public servants and a few others (see Parts 1-3). Our State Senator Linda Higgins, who lives in the Old Highland neighborhood, which is delightful and lovely yet still not immune to the social ills that plague our community, has responded to me via this letter below:

Dear Megan,

Thank you for your recent email regarding the violence in North Minneapolis. I share in your anger, outrage and fear of what has taken place in North Minneapolis over the last few weeks and since your email, 2 more shootings have taken place. I live at 1715 Emerson Ave North, and have lived in the neighborhood for 33 years. I agree, there needs to be something done so that we can all feel safe at our homes whether it is when we are sitting in our backyard or even parking our car. While I understand from Chief Dolan that the rate of violent crime in North Minneapolis is below where it was two years ago and below where it was in 2007 and 2006, it doesn't give me solace when I hear of another shooting in our neighborhood.

We need strong law enforcement and local government funding to combat violence in our neighborhood. I believe that Chief Dolan and Inspector Mike Martin are doing their very best with the resources that they are given including working with federal agencies. While we have seen a decrease in violent crime statistics over the past few years, there is clearly an increase of gun use in our community as shootings continue.  From what I understand the recent shootings have shown a correlation between young people and gun violence and so we need to do a better job on prevention programs such as gun buy back programs.

There are also resolutions that can be made on the state level, where I represent you as your state senator.  With the continued increase of gun violence I am convinced more than ever that we need to reexamine penalties for gun violence.  We also need to keep adequate police forces in our neighborhood, I have fought very hard in the last few sessions to restrict cuts to local government aid, which predominantly goes to police and fire services.  I am proud to say that I have worked hard for funding for youth jobs and intervention and policies to crack down on nuisance properties and party houses.  I will continue to fight hard for these policies next session.

I believe we also need to continue to connect as a community and attending meetings.  I believe I was the only legislator that attended the recent.  It is crucial to meet so we can continue to talk and act on this serious issue.


State Senator Linda Higgins
District 58
Representing North and Downtown Minneapolis

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