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Community Impact statements sought after burglary spree in Minneapolis

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The Minneapolis Police Department has issued a request for community impact statements regarding a local burglar, one Jarrod Dean Keezer, age 26. Keezer was arrested and charged seven times in 2013, with many of his arrests occurring only one day apart. Keezer was most commonly charged with Burglary in both the 2nd and 3rd Degree, but he has also been charged with fleeing a police officer, possession of injection implements, obstructing the legal process and various other offenses. Keezer’s next court date is set for 1/31/2014, but police say that since he is facing multiple charges they believe he will have another court date shortly after this. In the meantime, police are hoping to gain statements from the public regarding Keezer’s actions and the effect that it had on the local community.

Keezer’s burglaries were not limited to the area where he lived, but instead spanned the neighborhoods of Hiawatha, Minnehaha, Standish, Ventura Village, CARAG, and Midtown Phillips.

In a community impact statement, the goal is for the writer to state how the criminal’s behavior has affected that writer, his or her property, and/or his or her business. It is important to note that one can submit a community impact statement even if he or she was not a direct victim of a crime by the arrested person. If Jarrod Keezer has personally robbed you, chances are that you will be asked to fill out a Victim Impact Statement that will be reviewed during court proceedings. However, even if Keezer never crossed your path, you may still fill out a Community Impact Statement because his actions may have still had an impact on your life. For instance, if you live in a neighborhood where you know that there has been a recent rash of burglaries, you might be less likely to trust your neighbors or strangers that you meet on the street. You might be fearful of letting your guard down in any way, causing your behavior to become hyper-vigilant. If you are afraid to leave the house, to go to work, or to go to sleep at night, you have already been indirectly victimized by the perpetrator.

If you would like to submit a statement, please email: john.baumann@minneapolismn.gov, or mail a statement to: John Baumann, c/o Midtown Safety Center, 2949 Chicago Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN. 55407, or fax a statement to 612-825-1061. If you want to remain anonymous, you can identify yourself by the Court Watch Number rather than your name. To get a Court Watch Number, call 612-825-6138.

For more information about Community Impact Statements and other modern methods of Community Policing, see the website for the United States Attorney office:
http://www.justice.gov/usao/dc/programs/cp/cp.html

The rise in the request for Community Impact Statements demonstrates a positive new direction for local police departments. It is part of the Community Policing model that some say emerged as far back as the theories of Sir Robert Peel in 19th century Britain. Peel came up with nine rules for police to follow, and these came to be known as the “Peelian Principles.” While the police force both in Britain and America was originally instituted with the goals of protecting the wealthy and the ruling class, utilizing a “might makes right” rationale, the Peelian Principles and the Community Policing model depicted the police as public servants who work to support the people in a democratic society. Here are a few of the ideas that Robert Peel proposed in his principles:
• Each officer should have a number to identify him to the public. This will promote accountability for his actions.
• An officer’s success should not be judged by the amount of arrests that he brings in, but rather by the shortage of crime in his area.
• Officers should act as representatives of the public, rather than protectors of the people in power.

Some people say that after the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and the ensuing wars, we have moved away from Community Policing and are moving backward into a more stringent and repressive form of policing and corrections that has been called “The Homeland Security Model.” Multiple issues of privacy and autonomy are brought up with regard to these concerns, and there is always the sinister image of “The Blue Curtain,” that invisible line between police and the public that allows corrupt cops to thrive while victimizing innocent civilians. Indeed when we look at modern day instances of police brutality and other abuses of power, it’s amazing to think that someone was already addressing these concerns and coming up with a set of principles to address the problem as far back as 1829.

Others are more hopeful about the newest trends in law enforcement, saying that a strong Community Policing model is one that allows officers to listen to the voices of the community at large, helping to ensure that people can work together to remain safe, while still seeking out and identifying the small segment of the population who actually seek to do us harm.

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