MINNEAPOLIS — Finding a safe space when gunfire erupts. That’s the reality for some people living on Minneapolis’ north side. One woman has taken what some might think a pretty extreme measure, but it’s what she did to feel safe as she lays her head to sleep at night.
“In the last couple of week’s I’ve had gunfire 500 feet from my house,” Juliee Oden said.
Oden’s north-side home sits in the middle of the war zone where the battle between two gangs — the Hi’s and the Low’s — is raging.
“I started counting gun shots in rhythm, so I would always be very precise. I’d call and I’d say seven shots, because it would be boom-boom-boom-boom-boom-boom-boom,” Oden said.
Oden is one of eight north-side residents who filed a lawsuit in the summer of 2020, calling on the city to hire more police officers. The Minnesota Supreme Court decided the city needs to staff at least 731 police officers.
“The order is there but everything takes time, so we’re not going to see this miraculous change all of a sudden. The streets are filled with police officers; there is still a longer wait time,” Oden said.
And the gunfire continues. So Oden took matters into her own hands to ensure her safety, especially at night.
“Sleeping can be a big challenge when the gunfire is really at its heights, are at its peak, but I have a Safeboard behind my headboard,” she said.
A Safeboard is bulletproof.
“This board is not super-thick but it will stop any bullets,” she said. “Nothing can get through that board, and so I sleep very calmly.”
What keeps Oden up at nights now is that she worries that, if not stopped, the violence will spread.
“You can’t contain this violence and crime in one area and what’s going to happen is it’s going to bleed,” she said.
Oden believes more officers and more community involvement is what’s needed to stop the gunfire.
Oden works for a construction company and her colleagues helped install the bulletproof panel behind the headboard of her bed. She tells us she’s hopeful for a day when it won’t be needed.