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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Party Time?

We continue to see a decrease in the amount of college parties.  If there has ever been an example of how collaboration can work - this is it.  Working closely with our partners at UMD and our City Council we built ordinances and changed student conduct rules to address the issues associated with loud parties and underage consumption.  Back in the 1990’s and to the mid 2000’s officers would literally go from one loud college party to another.  Back then, some 911 calls for loud parties would entirely unanswered due to the volume.  Today, our party calls are about one fifth of what they were just 10 years ago. 
The success is due to UMD’s commitment and good ordinances passed by our City Council as well as our dedicated police officers..... 



Friday, October 18, 2013


There are few crimes against property that generate the anger, frustration and fear that graffiti vandalism does. Both the victims and their neighbors are outraged at the violation of property and by the image of vandals and gangs roaming the neighborhood. Duluth has been somewhat immune from a trend that has troubled so many cities nationwide, however from time to time we notice an increase in graffiti.  Like many of our crimes, the increase is often perpetrated by one or two individuals. 

Often citizens don’t realize the amount of time police spend investigating non-glamorous crimes such as graffiti.  Our officers arrest individuals for this crime frequently. Some time ago department staff conducted a quick review of a few juveniles charged and sentenced for vandalizing property with graffiti.  A juvenile who we determined was a major graffiti vandal was caught after painting up a Piedmont area.  He received six months of probation after defacing a felony amount of public property (to the cost of thousands of dollars) and ordered to pay restitution.  Another was apprehended after spray painting downtown; he received a sentence of probation until he is 18 and ordered to pay restitution.  A third graffiti vandal was caught a second time only two weeks after being in court for doing the same thing.  What is the answer to deal with the issue? Well, in an effort to improve deal with repeat property crime offenders we have been working closely with probation and others in the criminal justice system to find grants to expand gps monitoring of non-violent offenders.  GPS needs to be expanded in the use of offender monitoring; we will continue to collaborate with our partners to find funding for this important criminal justice tool.
We continue to investigate and apprehend those responsible for graffiti vandalism.  The vandals have cost private and public property owners tens of thousands of dollars.  Our officers investigating these cases are photographing and documenting the damage done.  When we apprehend vandals we aggressively seek full prosecution and strong sentences for each and every act.  In addition we encourage victims and neighborhood groups to become involved in the legal process to ensure their voices are heard and the vandals are held fully accountable for the damage they have done.  Involvement in the process beyond arrests has worked very well in Lincoln Park where a dedicated group of citizens works tirelessly to ensure those causing problems are held accountable.  
When graffiti occurs on your property you are required by City ordinance to remove it in a reasonable time frame. This ordinance is designed to help keep our neighborhoods free from blight.  You can also help by calling 911 immediately when you see suspicious activity or reporting those responsible for vandalism to us.


Friday, October 11, 2013

The Duluth police tradition of being leaders in policing continues this year; I am proud to report our officers are again being recognized at the national level for their work. The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) has recognized Duluth P.D. for our work with nuisance offenders and blight. This collaborative project between the City of Duluth’s Police Department and Attorney’s Office works to address the “quality of life” blight & nuisance crimes plaguing two Duluth police patrol zones. The project assigned a full time police officer to deal with law enforcement and a full time City Attorney to coordinate judicial issues to address chronic blight and nuisance crime offenders. The Blight and Nuisance Crime Project succeeded in improving the sharing of information about chronic offenders between prosecutors, judges and the police thereby improving the criminal justice system. The officer and attorney involved collaborates with other community groups to help designate and locate resources for indigent and chronic perpetrators of nuisance crimes allowing them access to resources that could help initiate reparations of their past. Our staff is closely involved in helping homeless find housing and resources to improve their situation.

This year’s recognition falls on the heels of last year where we won the top IACP community policing award and honorable mention for our work with crime victims. I could not be more proud of the men and women of this department. To be recognized two years in a row is unheard of and speaks volumes about the caliber of our staff and the innovative work they are doing. I see their good work every day and am proud to see them recognized for their efforts.