Business owners in downtown Minneapolis are speaking out on the wave of violent crimes hitting the area and the overall “decline” of the bustling city.
WCCO recently interviewed the owners of several prominent Minneapolis establishments, who said that the city turns into a ghost town around midnight because people are concerned for their safety.
“By midnight the place is almost empty because people are trying to get out of dodge,” said Jay Ettinger, part-owner of The Pourhouse. “It’s the wild, wild west out here.”
Tim Mahoney, part-owner of The Loon Cafe, said that what he’s “watched over the last seven years is just the decline of downtown Minneapolis.”
“We’re tired of the violence down here. We’re tired of people getting beat up. We’re tired of people being robbed. We’re tired of people being shot,” he added. “We’re tired of it.”
Mahoney pointed to the shortage of police officers as part of the issue. As The Minnesota Sun reported in December, the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association revealed that the state was experiencing a “crisis” level shortfall of officers.
“Quite frankly, we are at a point of crisis, in terms of public safety, and men and women joining this very honorable profession,” said Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo.
Minneapolis’ Cedar-Riverside neighborhood, nicknamed “little Mogadishu,” saw a 50 percent increase in violent crimes in 2018, which authorities attributed to Somali gang activity.
A recent report from Alpha News offered a detailed picture of Somali gang violence in Minneapolis and said that court documents revealed “seemingly unchecked gang retaliation” in the city.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman recently announced charges against Demilo Martin for a July 13 shooting at Crave American Kitchen. The incident was believed to be a gang relation shooting that stemmed from a June 15 gunfight in which at least 50 shots were fired, according to a press release.
“Downtown is getting a little crazy,” said Kristen Hicks, bar manager of The 508 Bar & Restaurant. “There’s a lot of violence out here. One of my security guards was actually shot.”
“That’s the problem,” Ettinger added. “It’s not the people that are taking part in commerce that are causing these problems. It’s the predators on the street that are waiting for them.”
Ettinger said that he and his colleagues would like to see “an attitude that this is not going to be tolerated down here.”
“We’ve been trying for years to get someone to do something for us,” Mahoney said. “All it takes is one person to step up and say we’re not going to do this anymore.”
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