Aeon statement on community safety
To Aeon, community safety is a community effort. We are doing everything in our power to ensure our residents’ safety. As a nonprofit affordable housing provider, we alone do not have the resources to solve a problem that extends beyond our properties. We are calling upon local police and City leaders to help us face this problem head-on.
Recently, we have seen a dramatic increase in crime that has coincided with the pandemic and its economic impact. Our community is facing a worse economic crisis than the Great Recession (Pew Research). In 2020, violent crime was up 21% in Minneapolis (Star Tribune). Violent crime rates are similarly increasing in metro areas across the country (Axios).
In particular, Aeon’s residents in the Elliot Park neighborhood and at Huntington Place Apartments in Brooklyn Park are impacted. Aeon has been working to address this problem from many angles, including:
- Communicating regularly with local police and City leaders in Minneapolis and Brooklyn Park about our concerns and the community’s needs.
- Increasing security measures at properties, including more security cameras, more secure doors, and increased private security.
- Partnering with neighborhood and community groups on crime prevention efforts.
- Equipping residents with safety and security tips and resources.
- Holding resident meetings and listening to resident’s feedback and concerns regarding safety and security.
- Enforcing the lease at our properties. Residents that violate their lease in ways that warrant eviction during the moratorium have not been allowed to stay.
“We need to address the root cause of crime in our community — a shortage of affordable housing and support services,” says Aeon President & CEO Alan Arthur. “Homelessness in Minnesota was already at a historic high prior to the pandemic. We need to support people experiencing homelessness and we need to create more homes people can afford.”
Aeon is calling for policing to mitigate violent crime, which has been disproportionately harming BIPOC residents. We need adequate police staffing so police respond when our residents call for help. We also are asking for greater investment in community resources and crime prevention, and stronger police accountability.
Aeon purchased Huntington Place in January 2020. At the time, the property was dealing with a high rate of police calls. We worked hand-in-hand with community partners to address crime at the property. Throughout 2020, crime decreased 35% at the property and calls for service from police went down 11%. But recently we have seen a dramatic increase in crime at the property, significantly from non-residents.
Elliot Park, Minneapolis
In the past year, an encampment in Elliot Park has grown from a few tents to many. The neighborhood has since seen a rise in crime. Often encampment residents are vulnerable victims to increased crime and without the right support, the entire community is impacted. Elliot Park Neighborhood, Inc. has called on the City of Minneapolis to move the encampment. Aeon leadership has joined in this call to find a more suitable environment for residents of the encampment. As studies have found, the solution isn’t shuffling people from camp to camp, rather we need political will to commit to improved shelter options and more affordable housing.