While violent crime is at near historic lows throughout the nation, there are many pockets within large urban areas where violence is wreaking havoc. Minneapolis is one such urban center. According to the StarTribune there have been 317 shooting victims in Minneapolis so far this year. Last year, there were 239 during the same period. Aggravated assaults are also up by approximately 10 percent citywide. Much of the violence is blamed on feuding gangs. Now city officials are hoping a new approach alleviates the problem.
The city wants gang members to accept education, job training and other social services in exchange for staying out of trouble. Rather than using aggressive and potentially brutal police tactics, the city is allocating funds to support gang members to leave that lifestyle behind. While the efforts should be lauded, unless massive amounts of investment are made, the program may have very little impact on the complex problem of street gangs. Will social services promising long-term security be enough to sway gang members away from the short-term gains offered by criminal activity?