Minneapolis was warned 22 years ago. That is when homicide Captain Mike Martin remembers the gang problem beginning.
“Our first gang homicide was in 1985 when Christine Kreitz was murdered in Martin Luther King Park by members of the Disciples,” Martin said.
It was the beginning of too many lives ending and by 1995 history was made when the city recorded 98 murders for the year.
That was the year the New York Times dubbed the city, Murderapolis.
In the mid to late nineties the gang strike force was formed and legislation was passed to toughen the penalties on gang members.
The entire state, police say, fought the gang problem and it subsided.
But now, 12 years later the number of gangs, gang members and gang related murders is rising.
“The emphasis has slipped and now we are dealing with the gang problem again,” Martin said.
Police say gang members today are the children of gang members of Murderapolis and they have no history to reflect upon. No recollection of times past.
“We arrest kids for murder now that were born in 1990 they were only five years old when we were dubbed Murderapolis,” Martin said.
Also those gang members of 1995 are getting out of prison and back on the streets.
“The people we arrested are now on the street and are just as active, they got more experience and gained contacts in prison they would not have had otherwise,” Martin said.
Last year when Minneapolis recorded 60 homicides at least half were gang related.
“You have 50 percent of them as gang members being victims or suspects or both and that's a significant amount,” Martin said.
It is the worst kind of history repeating itself and the only way to stop it before it begins will be an entire city coming together.
“Unless everyone is on the same page we will not reduce gang violence. We can arrest people all day long and it doesn't do any good,” Martin said.
(Copyright 2007 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)