The Hot Spots Project Heads to South Minneapolis

Posted by on May 25, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

North Minneapolis Hot Spots

As Leah walked up to the door with the police officer she didn’t know what to expect. The family’s home they were visiting was designated a Hot Spot due to the numerous 911 calls they made regarding domestic violence. Regardless, every family is different. Hot Spots is a project in Minneapolis that began in April 2015 from a grant-funded pilot program developed by 5 community partners: the Minneapolis Police Department, City Attorney’s Office, Minneapolis Health Department, Youth Violence Prevention Initiative, and the Domestic Abuse Project.

A Hot Spot is a concentrated area of violent crime identified by the Minneapolis Police Department. Hot Spots were identified when numerous 911 calls were made by Minneapolis citizens primarily related to domestic violence and resulted in no police report being filed. Around 17,000 domestic violence related calls are made each year and only 20-25% of those calls result in a report being made. Domestic assault accounted for 33% of police reports previously made at the addresses Leah and an officer were visiting.

So far, a team comprised of one Minneapolis officer and one Therapist from DAP (Leah) have visited over 285 home in the Hot Spots areas in order to increase positive engagement between victims/offenders and uniformed officers, increase awareness of domestic violence related services and providers, as well as increase information about and access to community based resources, provide an access point for domestic violence related follow up and assistance, and assess the barriers within families to services and community based resources.

Leah Martin graduated with a Master’s of Social Work from Augsburg College in July 2014 and has been a DAP therapist ever since working in the Men’s and Children’s Program. Her involvement in the Hot Spots program began when she was asked by the community partners to assist in the pilot program due to her experience with working across programs with various populations. Walking up to someone’s door you’ve never met before Leah stated, “You never know what you are going to get. It is also something that the resident is not expecting so there can be a lot of different feelings and initial reactions to a woman and police officer standing at ones doorstep and I want to be respectful and sensitive of that.”

Leah stated that when visiting families with multiple domestic violence 911calls it’s really eye opening to see how many people are unaware that domestic violence is happening in their own homes. Although it can be surprising to some families, ultimately most of them are grateful that there is such a program looking out for them. They are relieved that there are such resources actually available to them in their communities if they were to need them. Up until last month, the Hot Spots project has only been operational in North Minneapolis, but beginning in March 2016 the Hot Spots project has expanded to South Minneapolis as well. In North Minneapolis, Leah and an officer visit homes twice a week in 4 hour shifts. This is the frequency they also hope to get once the South Minneapolis Hot Spots project becomes more developed. In 2015 alone, the team visited 382 Hot Spots!

Since the Hot Spots project’s start last year over 285 homes have been visited and 75% resulted in face to face contact. Over 83% percent of those contacts allowed Leah and a Minneapolis police officer to discuss domestic violence with the families and provide them education about resources as well as discuss any barriers that the family was facing. Ultimately, 47.8% of those families who spend time talking with Leah and an officer accepted resources, handouts, and/or business cards.

As a result of the Hot Spots project, 16 referrals were made to offenders for domestic violence related programming, 8 victims wrote safety plans, 13 victims requested assistance with an Order for Protection, and 3 new police reports were made related to issues in the home. Although the Hot Spots project has assisted numerous families already, it is the project’s hope that more will be reached. With the expansion of the project to South Minneapolis, Hot Spots still hope to develop strategies of intervention to improve community access/ use of resources, continue data gathering and analysis to identify barriers and create action plans around those barriers, as well as expand its funding to explore other domestic violence Hot Spots throughout Hennepin County.

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