2nd Precinct Seeks Court Watch Volunteers

posted Mar 8, 2011, 12:28 PM by Ronnie V   [ updated Mar 8, 2011, 2:41 PM ]
(Message forwarded from CPS Tom Thompson at 2nd Precinct) 
We talk a lot about crime and statistics. Have you ever wondered what happens to the people who are arrested in your area? Have you ever wondered what happens when someone accused of a crime goes to court? Have you ever wondered why some people seem to get punished more than others? Those are just a couple questions we could help you answer.

I am looking to see if there are enough volunteers willing to make a NorthEast Courtwatch program viable. I would like to see at least one volunteer from each neighborhood. Courtwatch members can be anyone
who lives here or works here. The neighborhood volunteers would decide which arrests, in their neighborhood, would be monitored by Courtwatch.

What is the commitment? One meeting a month and then during the month possibly sending out e-mails or talking to neighbors to get Community Impact Statements for cases being monitored by the Courtwatch program.

What would the program look like? That's up to you. Here is what we did in the 5th Precinct:
- As a group we decide which crimes we want to monitor. (ie; burglary, robbery, graffiti, auto theft, whatever you would like to track).

- Then I set up a list so I get notified each time there is an arrest in the precinct for those crimes we are following.
- Each day I look to see if there was an arrest the night before, (only adult arrests, no juvenile arrests, as they are not public info).
- If there was, I send each Courtwatch volunteer a copy of the arrestees history of arrests (in Minneapolis only) since 2005.
- I also send out a copy of the Minneapolis Police Report to each volunteer (public information only).
- We then set a limit of say 20 arrests (just for sake of a number here). If the person has had 20 arrests in Minneapolis since 2005 they are automatically put on the Courtwatch list. If they haven't had the set number of arrests, then the neighborhood volunteer determines if that person should be on the list based on the crimes impact to their neighborhood.
- The City and County Attorney's Office is also hopefully involved. They monitor whether the arrested people are charged. They then report to the volunteers at the meeting of the status of court cases.
- The City and County Attorney's request community impact statements. The volunteers then go out to the neighborhoods (through e-mail or talking) to get people to write impact statements.
- We continue to track people through the court system, through sentencing.

Do you want to have an impact on crime? Do you want to have an impact on the court system? If you think this is a way to accomplish that, let me know. Remember, Courtwatch is a community driven program. It
can only happen with community volunteers. Let me know if you want to volunteer. If we can find enough volunteers I will work to get the process set up for us.

Thanks, Tom
For questions, contact:
Tom Thompson, Crime Prevention Specialist
Minneapolis Police Department, 2nd Precinct
(612) 673-2874