Forging ahead in 2022

City Perspectives

Forging ahead in 2022

Hello Saint Paul friends and neighbors,
On Feb. 23, my colleagues at the St. Paul City Council discussed ongoing and successful internal efforts with city and Ramsey County leaders to prevent crime using data-driven solutions through relationships that crisscross governmental agencies and jurisdictions. All people should feel and be safe in the City of St. Paul. We cannot accept any violence in our community and must work to stop it.
Last year, St. Paul unfortunately saw an increase in auto thefts and violent carjackings. Recognizing the need to have city and county leaders proactively combat these issues, County Attorney John Choi and my colleagues convened a table of violence reduction stakeholders to cut across bureaucracy and red tape, making sure we were directing our resources effectively to prevent crime in St. Paul. While crime is not unique to our city, our nimble method to meet these challenges head-on is the right approach. 
The violence reduction table of stakeholders is breaking down silos through data-driven solutions to prevent, stop and solve crimes in St. Paul. Dedicated community leaders including Mayor Melvin Carter, city councilmembers, Police Chief Todd Axtell, City Attorney Lyndsay Olson, County Attorney John Choi, Ramsey County commissioners, Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office, Ramsey County Manager Ryan O’Connor, county social services and others are tirelessly working to address these challenges – together.
Thanks to coordinated efforts, carjackings have decreased over recent months. Solutions have included focused deterrence efforts, funding of a dedicated prosecutor, investigators and community partners. Efforts also include a ‘front door’ for social services, outreach and support through community ambassadors and technical assistance through Group Violence Intervention. But we know that one carjacking is too many, so we still have work to do.
City leaders are also continuing to address catalytic converter thefts in coordination with the St. Paul Police Department. This is not just a St. Paul problem, but a regional, state and national issue. In January, the city council voted unanimously to pass an ordinance that makes sales or purchases of detached catalytic converters by unlicensed dealers a misdemeanor level offense. I will be continuing my discussion with our delegation in the Minnesota legislature about a statewide approach to catalytic converter thefts.
As the city further works to prevent crime and enhance community-first public safety efforts, I supported the creation of the Office of Neighborhood Safety (ONS). Recently, Mayor Carter appointed Brooke Blakey as the director of ONS. This office will continue the data-driven framework to prevent and address crime in St. Paul works with various city departments, first responders, residents and system stakeholders to further identify and expand neighborhood safety strategies. In the coming months, ONS will hire additional staff, create a Neighborhood Safety Community Council and work with Healing Streets to advance the White House Community Violence Intervention Collaborative. 
Additionally, St. Paul just graduated its newest class of police recruits.  Join me in congratulating the newest 55 officers to join our great police department.
Our community still has work to do, but I believe that together we can ensure a safe St. Paul. 
Chris Tolbert
Ward 3 Councilmember, City of Saint Paul
Phone: 651-266-8630; Fax: 651-266-8574
Email: Ward3@ci.stpaul.mn.us

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