Safety concerns after downtown Mpls. shootings

Concern over safety in downtown Minneapolis

MINNEAPOLIS -- A violent night in Minneapolis has city officials and business owners raising questions about safety downtown.

Authorities say six people were hurt, in two separate gang-related shootings early Monday morning.

According to police, five of the people shot have collectively had 110 charges against them for things like robbery and assault.

One business owner says she wants to know why there doesn't seem to be a solution to downtown crime.

Around 1:30 a.m. on Monday, she was working in her building when she heard gunshots – two piercing her window.
She wasn’t hurt. And wasn’t surprised by the gunshots.

“It’s 35 years this business has been next to the bars. It’s 35 years of problems,” said Toby Brill, Property Manager of a retail store.

The problems come at a time when the city is trying to draw more visitors into to downtown, especially at night. The first season at US Bank Stadium features several primetime NFL games and many Vikings fans on their way to the game on Monday said the violence was on their minds.

“Make sure everything is sort of tucked away and watch where we’re walking and where we’re parking," said Brad Carlson, who went to the game with his family. "We game planned it out tonight.”

“During the day, not a problem, during the evening it’s not somewhere I feel particularly safe," said Jackie Torfin, who walked by the area of the shooting on her way to the game with her husband. "I understand most of what’s going on is not related to me personally, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not walking by and I don’t kind of get caught up in the fray.”

City leaders admit they are frustrated by the continued violence, but they say they are working to address the crime through a menu of initiatives and tactics.

“We have many law enforcement tools and we have been using them,” said Mayor Betsy Hodges.

They say the shooting early Monday was gang related and tough to get a handle of.

“We know the groups involved, but we don’t know who the individuals are, so it can be any part of this city. It can be anywhere across the Twin Cities,” said Chief Janee Harteau

For Toby, she says, “Enough talk, it’s been 35 years of talk.”

She knows what could stop the violence downtown.

“They increase the illumination by 20 percent, that will cut down the crime, I’m sure, by 50 percent. I’m happy to make that guarantee. The second thing they need to do is stagger the bar closings,” said Brill.

A simple and immediate solution that she and people downtown say they want to see in action now.

“We need something to make Minneapolis a better place,” said Mayberry.

Police say violent crime is down 8 percent in this area compared to last year. But looking at the numbers in the last four years, numbers are up on average.


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