Downtown Minneapolis: It’s the ‘Wild, Wild West’ and ‘Predators’ are Lying in Wait

“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”

Downtown Minneapolis
MNPLS Crime Data

It’s the Wild, Wild West out here and predators are lying in wait. That’s how one business owner described downtown Minneapolis after midnight. 

Downtown Minneapolis bar owners are seeing a spike in violent crime and they’re tired of it, according to a weekend report by WCCO.

Several bar owners interviewed in the report said that their establishments start clearing out around midnight or 12:30 a.m. because people don’t want to get caught up in the “shenanigans” in downtown Minneapolis.

Jay Ettinger, part-owner of the Pourhouse, said, “[i]t’s the wild, wild west out here.” Ettinger said it’s not the people taking part in commerce who are causing the problems, “it’s the predators on the street that are waiting for them.”

Tim Mahoney, part-owner of the Loon Café said, “[w]hat we’ve watched over the last seven years is just the decline of downtown Minneapolis.” Kristen Hicks, bar manager of the 508 Bar & Restaurant, said, “[t]here’s a lot of violence out here. One of my security guards was actually shot.” 

Two weeks ago two University of Minnesota swimmers were struck by stray gunfire near Pizza Lucé as they waited for a ride after ordering food.

The problems aren’t confined to just the streets, however. Less than a month ago, two people were shot inside Crave restaurant in what was later identified to likely be a gang retaliation shooting, according to a release by the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office.

A search of social media pages that regularly post crime reports from police scanner broadcasts indicates that problems like robbery and assault are occurring during daylight hours, as well, along Hennepin and Nicollet Avenues. One report on Minneapolis Crime Watch described a particularly bold Sunday afternoon assault. Police dispatch audio linked in the post described a group of ten males assaulting one male on the 500 block of Hennepin Avenue.

Just days after the Crave shooting, Gavin Rydell, identified as part-owner of Infinite Vapor e-cigarette shops and several other businesses posted a video on Facebook that appeared to show security footage of a person firing a gun on the 600 block of Hennepin Avenue following a possible altercation.  

On the post Rydell commented, “[t]hank you Minneapolis city council for focusing on bike lanes, banning ecig flavors, raising taxes, raising wages to a point that businesses will eventually fail, you guys are about the worst policy makers in the country. I am adding a video of what happens in Minneapolis every single weekend. The media doesn’t cover it, the state doesn’t talk about it. Minneapolis after dark is one of the most dangerous citys there is. this video is right outside Fogo near the theater district on hennepin ave.”

A Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) official said it’s not uncommon to see an uptick in crime during the summer, the WCCO report said. 

A search of the Crime Data Dashboard on the MPD’s website indicates that since June 1 in the 1st Police Precinct there have been two homicides, 89 robberies, 83 aggravated assaults and 18 rapes, with a total of 192 violent crimes listed for the period (top photo). A comparison to statistics from last year shows an increase of over 40 percent in robberies, an increase of over 15 percent in aggravated assaults and an increase of nearly 13 percent in overall violent crime incidents in the precinct over the same period last year.

“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,” Mahoney said in the WCCO report. “We’re tired of it.”

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Minnesota Crime Watch & Information offers citizen-powered news, info and commentary about crime, public safety and livability issues in Minneapolis, the Twin Cities and greater Minnesota.