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Photo illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Faced with growing pressure to address an increase in crime, Mayor Melvin Carter of St. Paul, Minnesota, is renewing his call for a comprehensive, "community-first" approach to improving public safety.

Driving the news: "Waiting to respond after somebody calls 911, after something terrible has happened, it's just insufficient," Carter told Axios last week.

What's happening: Violent incidents were up 25% in St. Paul in 2020, as cities nationwide grappled with a spike in crime.

What he's saying: Carter said the troubling trend underscores the need to focus on investments and preventative measures in communities most at risk for crime. He argued fallout from the pandemic — including unemployment and people feeling "disconnected from their neighbors" — is making things worse.

  • "When people feel hopeful about the future, when people are connected to community, when someone can ask for a cup of sugar ... those are the strongest tools that we have to reduce violence and crime in our community."

Yes, but: Carter acknowledged that more needs to be done now.

  • The city will be "shifting resources and shifting deployment" to respond to incidents and address hot spots, he said.

Of note: Carter said initial data shows gang-involved violence decreased in 2020 following early intervention efforts, while domestic incidents increased.

  • "What we need to do to solve that problem is different. They're two completely different strategies, two completely different approaches."

What to watch: We'll have more from our interview with Carter tomorrow.

This story first appeared in the Axios Twin Cities newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.

Go deeper

Recent attacks spark renewed focus on anti-Asian violence

Graphic: CBS News

A string of recent attacks on elderly Asian Americans has led to an uproar in the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community.

Why it matters: Violence and discrimination against Asian Americans appears to have risen dramatically since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, leaving families nervous and afraid even in many of America’s most diverse cities.

Updated 26 mins ago - Health

California surpasses 50,000 COVID-19 deaths

A man prepares a funeral arrangement in in Los Angeles, California, Feb. 12. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

California's death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 50,000 on Wednesday, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: It's the first state to record more than 50,000 deaths from the coronavirus.

2 hours ago - Technology

Facebook bans Myanmar military

A protester holds a placard with a three-finger salute in front of a military tank parked aside the street in front of the Central Bank building during a demonstration in Yangon, Myanmar. Photo by Aung Kyaw Htet/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Facebook said on Wednesday it would ban the rest of the Myanmar military from its platform.

The big picture: It comes some three weeks after the military overthrew the civilian government in a coup and detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi, causing massive protests to erupt throughout the country. Military leaders have been using internet blackouts to try to maintain power in light of the coup.