Minneapolis Police Department Action Alerts
"Just-in-time" Delivery of Crime Data to Your Inbox
If you are an active block club leader, neighborhood association safety committee/task force chair, or staff with a neighborhood association whose duties include organizing around crime prevention, we invite you to subscribe to the MPD's "MPD Action Alerts." (If you would like to merely be informed, you may subscribe to the general crime alert list for your area of Minneapolis by signing up here.)
What are MPD Action Alerts?
An MPD Action Alert is a brief email summarizing a crime incident on or near your property or block, which has been reported to the Minneapolis Police Department. The alert is generated ONLY when incidents are documented in a full report by MPD officers in response to 911 calls, during self-initiated enforcement by officers while on patrol, or when individual MPD units execute details resulting in arrests. Generally, they are "on the wire" within 72 hours, and often within 24 hours, of the report being filed in our system.
The MPD Action Alerts were programmed in response to the demand for more crime information to be distributed more quickly to our active partners. If you have an email address, live or work in Minneapolis, and are involved in crime prevention programs in your neighborhood, you may sign up for MPD Action Alerts.
They are called "MPD Action Alerts" because subscribers are limited to our most active crime prevention partners, and each alert is tailored to our partners' needs in responding to crime patterns, convening a block club or neighborhood crime watch meeting, or assembling a walking crime watch to stroll through a "hot spot" area of criminal activity. Subscriber locations are geocoded in our system so that we can match nearby incidents with that location and generate the alert. Generally block club leaders can get the alerts for an area up to two blocks from the center of their block; neighborhood associations can get alerts in a buffer zone including their entire neighborhood.
Why should I want to get these alerts?
Current MPD Action subscribers, such as block club leaders, tell us these alerts help them in many ways:
- Often people are aware of police activity in an area and are concerned about the result of enforcement or other actions. The MPD Action Alert will give you a thumbnail sketch of the incident and whether or not someone was arrested. Sometimes an arrest is effected blocks away from the site of the original 911 call and neighbors who may have called 911 wouldn't otherwise know a suspect was found.
- Organized neighborhoods use these incidents to prompt a round of organizing block clubs, forming impromptu or more long-term walking crime watch groups, contacting as yet unknown owners of rental and commercial property, and registering their concerns about licensed establishments with the regulatory agencies responsible for follow-through.
- Minneapolitans are sensitive to the perception that our city may be less safe than other areas due to a high level of crime. The reality is that many other hazards in life (traffic accidents being the most likely) are far more likely to bring about serious injury or death in areas outside of the city. Even so, crime is often a top concern of community groups. Getting these alerts on a regular basis can help you gauge whether crime is on the increase or is subsiding over time, and re-affirm or ratchet up your personal and community safety habits accordingly.
- The alerts will also make you more immediately knowledgeable about crime than the average uninvolved citizen--and the note directs you to resources that can help solve the crime or prevent further criminal activity. In that regard they also have proven helpful to block clubs and neighborhood associations quash the "rumor mill" about incidents and crime patterns.
Who may subscribe to this system and get these alerts?
- Active block club leaders. "Active" is defined by the Crime Prevention Specialist (CPS) for the block leader's primary location, but generally means you host at least one block club meeting or event each per year (it can be National Night Out), or are routinely working with your Crime Prevention Specialist and/or Sector Lieutenant on a crime prevention strategy such as organizing your neighborhood's business community into a commercial node Crime Watch, doorknocking with your CPS to recruit block club leaders, etc.
- Neighborhood association safety committee/task force leaders. If you are leading your neighborhood's efforts outlined in your neighborhood's policing plan, or convene regular meetings for stakeholders in your neighborhood to become involved in crime prevention activities, you may subscribe to the system. Contact your CPS to be sure your group is recognized as a proactive partner with the MPD.
- Neighborhood association staff who oversee crime prevention activities and outreach in partnership with the MPD. Generally, the neighborhood association will be the group recognized by the city's Neighborhood Revitalization Program as the designated group to receive NRP funds.
- Security personnel or property managers overseeing entire multi-use properties or campuses--e.g., security for a college campus, or manager of a multi-tenant office tower.
- Other crime prevention volunteer leaders: For example, the key contacts for a neighborhood's Court Watch, walking crime watch group, leader of a neighborhood group of rental property owners, or other activities which promote block clubs as a partnership with the MPD-- all may sign up by contacting their Crime Prevention Specialist.
How much information will I get?
Most subscribers will get an alert including basic public information about significant crimes, when they happen in a buffer zone of about one block around their home or place of work. The size of the buffer around your location is based on the long city blocks typical in primarily residential areas.
You may get more reports if you live on or near a primarily commercial corridor or business node. If you are a neighborhood association safety committee chair or neighborhood staff that oversees crime prevention activities, you may get the reports for your entire neighborhood or targeted hot spots for areas larger than one block.
What information will I NOT get?
While you will receive alerts for most Part I Crimes (these are the most serious crimes such as robbery, felony assaults, auto theft, etc.), narcotics and various livability crimes, we limit the alerts to the kinds of crimes that historically communities have identified as the most important ones to prevent, reduce and deter--and for which there is general agreement that the community can organize and participate in strategies to prevent them. Thus, MPD Action Alerts do not include all possible crimes. For example, the following crimes are not included: traffic violations, domestic assaults, reports of suspected vulnerable adult abuse, on-going narcotics investigations for which details cannot be released to the public, etc. Further, if a 911 call did not necessitate filing a full report, it will not be included in the MPD Action Alerts. When an arrest is made, only adult arrestees' information is included in the alert; juveniles can only be listed by age (e.g., "Juvenile - 17"). Only serious larceny (theft) reports will be released.
The MPD Action Alerts that are sent do not contain all information reported to the MPD. The information conveyed therein is a brief summary of the public information gathered in the initial investigation by arriving officers. It is by no means the complete report. For example, the public information paragraph is limited to a set number of characters so it might not detail the entire incident. Also, by policy we will not release any victim information via these alerts. To obtain a more complete report with all the information that can be released by law, follow the instructions included in each MPD Action Alert to obtain it from our Records Information Unit (612-673-2961).
Finally, this alert system does not include data stored in the databases of other entities in the criminal justice system. It will not include follow-up information such as court cases. It will not notify you if an arrest is made days or weeks following the report filed in our system. In general the MPD will release such information when significant crime patterns are brought to an end through an arrest or other means. This is one argument for having a neighborhood-wide safety committee where the MPD can have sufficient time on the agenda to update the community on recent crime patterns, significant arrests, etc.--and also a reason to be sure to also subscribe to your Crime Prevention Specialist's general alert list. It will not send crime reports from other cities in Minnesota.
If you must get more public information than is summarized in the Action Alert, you can visit our Records Information Unit in Room 31, City Hall, 350 S. 5th Street during regular business hours, or call them at 612-673-2961. There is a nominal fee for a copy of the complete public information report.
How often do the Action Alerts go out?
Barring unforeseen network issues, the system checks subscriber locations or block club areas against our crime database on a daily basis. If a match for the property or area is found, and the report has been approved by a supervisor, the Alert is generated. Caveat: These alerts at any time may be taken out of the "automated" mode due to network issues, to manually test revisions to the format or the list of qualifying incidents, or for a manual review of the information bundled in the alerts to assure that non-public information is redacted. Lastly, if no incident matches your property address or defined block club zone, of course you will not get an alert ("No news is good news"). So, do not expect them every day and conversely, you may occasionally get several days' alerts at once due to a backlog that will build up routinely for the above mentioned reasons. And please do not contact your Crime Prevention Specialist if you are concerned about not getting the alerts--they do not manage the system but are your main resource for problem-solving any issues brought to light by the alerts. Contact the MPD's Crime Prevention Analyst listed below for questions about the system, if your email address changes, or you think you might not have gotten an alert you should have been sent.
I want to get the alerts--but can I get them for an area larger than my block?
If you are the chairperson, lead volunteer for or staff assigned to your neighborhood's crime prevention activities, committee or task force, or are the leader for your Neighborhood Policing Plan, let us know. If you are not overseeing neighborhood-wide projects, under limited circumstances and with the approval of your Crime Prevention Specialist, we can expand the radius for these reports roughly up to the boundaries of your neighborhood. NOTE: When we say "radius" we actually mean a rectangle determined by a distance north-south and east-west from your home or business, or the centerpoint for your neighborhood. You may find this helpful in keeping abreast of the crime picture in your neighborhood. Also be advised, the further out we push the boundaries, the more incident alerts you will receive!
At present the MPD Action system is set up to send one note per incident. A future revision may roll up the incident lists into one daily note but for the time being it helps our testing to send one note per report.
For questions regarding how the crimes listed in these alerts may impact your property or immediate area, or to get more people in your neighborhood involved in crime prevention in your neighborhood, please contact your Crime Prevention Specialist for the area where the incident took place.
Please do NOT contact your CPS for a copy of the police reports summarized in the Alerts. See the instructions included in each MPD Action Alert for obtaining a more complete public information report. You may need a certified copy from our Criminal History Unit depending on your need for the information.
How do I unsubscribe?
If you wish to discontinue these alerts, reply with "Unsubscribe" in the subject line and we will "flip the switch" to "off" for the MPD Action Alerts. You may be on our list for other general alerts--To discontinue receiving alerts entirely, let us know that too--you may still want to get our general bulletins if you are on our list for rental property bulletins, Bar Watch notices, etc. Lastly, if you subscribed via the City web site, you also are on our list to receive notes via "GovDelivery." To unsubscribe from those lists, you will need to follow the unsbuscribe directions included in each alert.
Can I urge others to sign up for these alerts?
If you know other active crime prevention leaders in your community who would like to receive these alerts, have them contact the Crime Prevention Specialist for their neighborhood to make that request. Due to network capacity and limited staff resources dedicated to this alert system, at this time we can only subscribe those who are playing an active role as our partners in approved crime prevention activities. Please do not refer people to the MPD for these alerts if they are not willing to become active in crime prevention. Also, while we do not conduct a criminal background check on subscribers, the nature of these alerts do generate a substantial number of calls to our Crime Prevention Specialists, so as much as we would like to, we cannot add people to the system who are merely curious and who may call us for more information but decline to be involved. Finally, both active crime prevention leaders and the merely curious should also subscribe to their CPS's general email alert list, using the link cited above.
What does the Minneapolis Police Department expect of me as a subscriber to the MPD Action Alerts?
We need your commitment as a partner in our outreach efforts. This includes:
- Promote block clubs--the fundamental building block of successful crime prevention in any city. Neighborhood-wide efforts such as block patrols are also excellent for outreach and deterrence, but the most sustainable commitment to crime prevention in our experience comes from residents watching out for neighbors on their own block, and the block club working with the MPD as crime issues arise.
- Forward these alerts as appropriate to your block club email list or neighborhood crime prevention committee. Please consider others' level of involvement when you forward these notes. They are intended to generate your involvement, intelligence fed back to the MPD, and outreach to stakeholders who can help us further our crime reduction efforts such as owners and managers of rental property, convenience stores, or licensed liquor establishments.
- Respond to the suggested action requests that are automatically included in each note as you are able. For example, if a house on your block has been raided for narcotics, the MPD Action Alert may prompt you to call the owner of the property to enroll them in the Action Alert system and attend the next RPO Workshop. If you are chairing a neighborhood safety committee, roust up volunteers to call all rental owners of properties referenced in the alerts to attend your next meeting and sign up for the Action Alerts if not already on the MPD's system.
I don't think I need to subscribe to this system, but would like to be informed generally about crime patterns and safety tips. How do I do that?
The Minneapolis Police Department is the most progressive law enforcement agency in the country in terms of sharing crime information and targeting that information to the needs of stakeholders. The following are other crime alert systems that anyone with a stake in personal safety or crime issues can sign up for:
- GovDelivery is a service contracted to the city to provide general email and text message alerts from a variety of City departments. For crime alerts, subscribers can indicate they wish to receive crime alerts for the neighborhoods where they live or work. Subscribers can also have messages filtered to meet the needs of their level of commitment to crime prevention projects. Further, subscribers can limit their alerts to those pertaining to their type of business, property, or service they are employed in or volunteer. A subscriber can also indicate a preference for receiving alerts via their cell phone as a text message. This is the primary service through which citizens and stakeholders in Minneapolis can receive general crime alerts.
- MplsSafeZone.org is a web site developed by the non-profit SafeZone primarily for Downtown Minneapolis. The site also includes narrowly-defined alert services for security personnel and commercial property managers throughout Minneapolis. Citizens can enroll as individual members.
- The Minnesota Crime Alert Network is managed by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and charges $12 for members to enroll for alerts from agencies throughout the state. Members can choose from several dozen categories of alerts including "Neighborhood Watch", and can receive alerts by email, fax, or phone.
- Other sources of crime alerts include several web services which troll the internet for Minneapolis crime stories, or pass on data from crime summaries provided by various law enforcement agencies. Neither the MPD nor the City of Minneapolis makes any guarantees as to the accuracy of the information pushed from these web services. The MPD cautions citizens that they may not receive all of the crime information they need or when they need it from these sources, or may receive more than they want.
For any other general questions about the MPD Action Alert System, please contact:
Luther Krueger, Crime Prevention Analyst
Minneapolis Police Department
Property Information Center, 350 S. 5th Street, Room 100
Minneapolis MN 55415
We thank you for your commitment of time and energy toward making Minneapolis safer!
Last updated Apr. 10, 2012