MINNEAPOLIS - Fed up with crime around their neighborhood, a group of northeast Minneapolis business owners found a solution: Hire off-duty police officers.
One year later, police say crime in the area is down 60 percent.
"There is a reason crime is going down in Minneapolis and it's because of partnerships like this," says 2nd precinct inspector Bryan Schafer.
The idea came when four businesses came to Schafer with a request for more officers.
"You know the police department has a finite number of officers," Schafer told the group. "But if you can come up with some extra funds, we can provide off-duty cops to patrol the area."
The group formed the Riverfront Entertainment District or R.E.D.
After the huge success they saw during the holidays last year, that initial group of four businesses has grown to 14. Each business chipping in whatever they can afford.
"We've had all kinds of partners that were really unexpected. Catholic Elder Care which does senior housing was one of the first to join on from the original partners and it's really been on organic experience," says Christine Levens with the Northeast Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce.
This year they hope to raise $7,000 to hire extra cops on Friday and Saturday nights through the holidays.
Businesses like Jax Cafe, one of the founding members, believe the drop in crime will provide a boost to their bottom line.
"We're paying for it but yes, it's been well worth it," says Jax Cafe owner Bill Kozlak.
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