Crime Wave

With the sports section of the StarTribune filled with hunting stories these days I was reminded of my favorite police report from the annual reports of the Minneapolis park board.

This moose was shot nowhere near Minneapolis to my knowledge. It's one of many hunting photos from the Minnesota Historical Society collection from the time period.

C. S. Barnard, Sergeant in Command, included these comments in the annual report of 1913:

“The football and hunting season necessitates the special service of five officers most of the time, namely two at Glenwood Park and one at Lake Nokomis to watch hunters, one officer during football season at North Commons and one at Longfellow Field…We have 30 guns in storage which have been taken from hunters shooting on park property and have returned as many more to the owners.”

Those five additional officers were significant in a day when the full-time park police force was only 17 men.

His comments on another aspect of his work is noteworthy given recent tribulations over “off-leash recreation areas” in Minneapolis parks.

“We have picked up and sent to the dog shelter 44 dogs which have been running at large in our most important parks.”

Barnard also categorizes all 309 arrests made during the year by park police. Approximately half were for either intoxication or driving commercial vehicles on parkways. Only three arrests were made for “hitching horses to shade trees.”

Two arrests were made of people “found in parks after 12 midnight.” Parks closed at midnight in those days. That caused a bit of a problem at Lake Harriet, as Barnard wrote:

“The red light on the boat house, installed this year, has been a great help in getting canoeists off the lake by 11:30 p.m., but owing to the large number who stay out past that time, I would suggest that the hour be changed to 11 o’clock in order to enable the parks to be cleared by 12 o’clock.”

A final note on canoes: Eight canoes were stolen from park property in 1913, but Barnard notes with pride “all of which have been recovered except one.”

David C. Smith  minneapolisparkhistory[at]q.com

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