Wilder Research releases study results on safety and policing in Brooklyn Park


The killing of George Floyd by police and the nationwide protests that followed have contributed to increased awareness of the need for greater community safety, including safety within the criminal justice system where systemic racism in practices and policies have produced inequitable treatment and harm to Black, Indigenous and people of color.

In late 2020, the City of Brooklyn Park hired Wilder Research to uncover the root causes of violence in Brooklyn Park, understand community perceptions of the Brooklyn Park Police Department, create research-driven recommendations to improve community safety, and develop a tool to assess and improve the Brooklyn Park Police Department’s performance.

Wilder researchers reviewed existing research on community safety and policing, analyzed community survey data related to the root causes of violence in Brooklyn Park, and conducted interviews with city residents and employees.

Using data to improve community safety and policing

Wilder Research's Lindsay Turner and Julie Atella recently shared the study report and key findings with the Brooklyn Park City Council. Key findings highlight the conditions that create community safety, and how the scorecard they developed could be used to evaluate the city’s policing practices and identify opportunities for improvement.

 Key findings include:

  • There are risks of violence when people are not economically secure or connected to their community.
  • There are disparities in Brooklyn Park that likely contribute to violence and disorder.
  • Improving traditional policing may not improve safety.
  • Brooklyn Park Police Department policies and interviewee themes support that procedural justice is a key strength; even so, some BPPD policies and Minnesota laws conflict with best practices.

Recommendations from the study include: focus on prevention by addressing inequities; ensure that the social conditions where safety thrives are equally distributed across races and places in the city; improve interventions by utilizing community-based mental health, school-based safety workers and other efforts to re-imagine police responsibilities; and partner with community to use the scorecard to measure performance and guide changes.

The city council planned to have an in-depth discussion about the study findings in an upcoming work session to determine next steps.

“Our research underscored there is a need to address the social and systemic conditions that lead to violence and disorder in Brooklyn Park, as well as a desire to improve interventions, including those by police,” said Julie Atella, research scientist at Wilder Research and co-researcher on the study. “We hope the data and community wisdom we gathered and reviewed for this study will provide valuable insight to guide the city of Brooklyn Park to improve safety and policing in Brooklyn Park.”

Learn more about the study and report.

See media stories about the study