Second Ward, Minneapolis

This is the public policy forum of Minneapolis Second Ward (Green) City Council Member Cam Gordon and his staff. We use this space to talk about some of what Cam’s working on, explain his positions, and share a little of what life in City Hall is like. Please feel free to comment on posts, within certain ground rules. See our disclaimer, including ground rules, here:

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Lurking Data Analysis

My office has gone through data on Lurking arrests and convictions in 2007, provided by the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) and City Attorney's Office (CAO), and here's what we've found:

231 people were arrested in Lurking incidents in 2007 The race of arrestees is as follows:
118 African American
61 White
22 Other
14 Indian
8 Asian
8 Unknown

This means that 51% of Lurking arrestees in 2007 were African American and 70% were people of color. These reflect the 2006 pattern pretty well. In '06 there were 167 people arrested or cited for “lurking” in the City. 133 of these people were people of color. 21 were homeless

If you look at it from how effective these arrests are in terms of actually leading to a conviction it gets more interesting. Of the 231 involved in incidents, at least 150 people were arrested for Lurking in 2007, 136 of them adults. Only 77 cases (or 56% of the 136 total) have been tried by the City Attorney's Office. 19 of these individuals have been convicted. That means there was a successful prosecution rate of 25% and an overall conviction rate resulting from the 136 arrests of 14%.

This means that 85% of the adults arrested for Lurking in 2007 have not been convicted. This compares extremely unfavorably to the successes the CAO has had in prosecuting other livability offenses. For instance, in 2007 the CAO achieved the following conviction rates for the following so-called livability crimes:

Graffiti: 82%
Minor Consumption: 77%
Prostitution: 72%
Public Urination: 64%
Public Consumption of Alcohol: 62%
Disorderly Conduct: 58%
Noisy Party: 57%
Loitering with an Open Bottle: 57%
Possession of Drug Paraphernalia: 54%
Trespassing: 52%
Aggressive Solicitation: 51%
Littering and Spitting: 44%
Even Loitering has a higher success rate of 32%.

For the record, the City Attorney's Office lists among its objectives in it business plan that, "perpetrators of livability crimes will be successfully prosecuted," and identifies the measure to "increase conviction rates on livability crimes to 65%."

I believe that this data strongly supports my argument that the Lurking ordinance is not an effective use of our precious public safety resources and does not support the goals of our Attorney' office. We are better served by focusing enforcement actions on crimes with specific, verifiable behaviors and relying on The Lurking ordinance simply doesn't keep us safe.


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