Community leaders battle rising crime in Corcoran community

Community+members+meet+in+Corcoran+Park+to+discuss+a+plan+of+action+following+a+recent+outbreak+in+crime.+Here+they+are+brainstorming+ideas+to+make+the+community+safer.+Courtesy+of+Eric+Gustafson
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Community leaders battle rising crime in Corcoran community

Community members meet in Corcoran Park to discuss a plan of action following a recent outbreak in crime. Here they are brainstorming ideas to make the community safer. Courtesy of Eric Gustafson

Community members meet in Corcoran Park to discuss a plan of action following a recent outbreak in crime. Here they are brainstorming ideas to make the community safer. Courtesy of Eric Gustafson

Community members meet in Corcoran Park to discuss a plan of action following a recent outbreak in crime. Here they are brainstorming ideas to make the community safer. Courtesy of Eric Gustafson

Community members meet in Corcoran Park to discuss a plan of action following a recent outbreak in crime. Here they are brainstorming ideas to make the community safer. Courtesy of Eric Gustafson

Oscar Cozza, Graphics Editor

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On October 24th, South was locked down following several shots fired on the 3100 block of 21st Avenue S. This was just one incident of the many reported to the Minneapolis Police Department in the Corcoran neighborhood surrounding South, since the school year started. This recent spike in crime has alarmed many local community leaders.

According to the Minnpost, in December, burglary has increased 400% in Corcoran, and the last few months show a disturbing increase in all types of crime in Corcoran. Since South High moved into Corcoran neighborhood in 1970, South has become an inseparable part of the community. So, the increase in crime and uneasiness of Corcoran residents has had a powerful effect on the South student body.

Max Folina, a freshman and resident of Corcoran, had an experience with crime in his neighborhood. “Someone was shot behind my house in the alley, [in] the middle of the night.” he said. “At first we thought it was firecrackers. My neighbors had [already] called the police.”

The Corcoran Neighborhood Organization (CNO) and Council member Alondra Cano organized a community meeting on December 17th to provide the public information regarding the crimes and allow people to discuss how community leadership can help increase safety.

Community members meet in Corcoran Park to discuss a plan of action following a recent outbreak in crime. Here they are brainstorming ideas to make the community safer. Courtesy of Eric Gustafson

Community members meet in Corcoran Park to discuss a plan of action following a recent outbreak in crime. Here they are brainstorming ideas to make the community safer. Courtesy of Eric Gustafson

“[The meeting] was well attended,” said Eric Gustafson, Executive Director of the CNO. “A lot of people were there about specific incidents, such as those shots fired across from the high school (South), but … most people were concerned about the general rise in crime that has happened in the last couple months.”

“My observation . . . having done this work for 10 years is that, whenever it gets cold we seem to . . . have a little spike in crime,” Garcia reflected. He continued, “Now [that there are] crimes against people . . . it has kind of created doubt in peoples minds about whether they feel safe.”

Erika Garcia, resident of Corcoran and community leader, attended the meeting because of a shooting on her property in October. “[Because of the meeting] I was reminded that I am not alone in my belief that Corcoran is a great neighborhood,” Garcia said. “Many others value this neighborhood for various reasons and together we can make a difference.  I was encouraged to hear first hand how police are working to combat crime.”

According to their website, the main role of the CNO has always been to organize neighbors and strengthen the Corcoran community. Recently, in an effort to reduce criminal activity, the CNO has been working to improve the sense of community and belonging in Corcoran.

“People are doing block club type things, you know, just improving relationships,” said Gustafson. “[Community leaders are] establishing contact lists; when they see something they not only call 911, but they call their neighbors and tell them to call 911. We’re always trying to create a larger strategy that is driven by residents that both prevents crime and equips the neighborhood to prevent crime in the future. [People are] looking out for each other.”

The CNO plans to hold another meeting in the near future to help better implement plans to stop the increase of crime. Furthermore, Garcia advised community members who want to be an active in the effort to stop crime to, “Get involved in grassroots efforts to build community. Be alert. . . Keep dark areas well lit.  Keep the neighborhood clean and well maintained. Report suspicious activity to 911 and other violations such as graffiti . . . to 311. Connect regularly with neighbors.”

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