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Already battered down by the Covid-19 shutdown, restaurants fear growing lawlessness in Minneapolis will kill their business

In a letter addressed to Mayor Jacob Frey and the Minneapolis City Council, a group of 40 restaurants is publicly asking Jacob Frey to address the issue of rising crime that is facing Minneapolis. According to the letter, restaurants are in desolation, in part because of events surrounding covid-19. And beyond Covid-19, the perception of growing crime in Minneapolis further threatens to kill businesses in the city. Part of the letter reads;

But this goes beyond COVID. There is no current plan of action, cure, or sense of “We’re all in this together” for the other worries plaguing downtown, specifically, the real and perceived rising rates of crime.

Even those who refuse to let fear run their lives, even those who live in the city and have spent years feeling relatively safe despite the occasional incident, are turning away. The numbers speak for themselves, and the vibrations throughout Minneapolis can’t be ignored: Perception begets reality, and the strong feelings of unsafety in our downtown are very real. No matter which side of the “defund the police” debate you fall on, the absence of communication and transparency about public safety plans creates even more fear, uncertainty and frustration.

Our business are struggling. Some are failing; several have already closed. Many others have been boarded up for months, yet continue to be hit with rent and property taxes. Our patrons are paying entertainment and stadium taxes, even with no events or activity. We are still supporting the city, but the city is not supporting us. If this trend continues, a city can take decades of work and a major movement to recover. History has proven it, and we need to reverse course before we become a lost city.

It’s exciting and encouraging to see more companies signing leases downtown, but behind the scenes, a large number of businesses are considering or are already moving outside of the city. Losing us puts at risk the very infrastructure that energizes and makes an urban environment compelling. It’s becoming too easy to celebrate in the good news while turning a blind eye to the bad.

We are asking for acknowledgement from you of the Minneapolis crisis, and yes, it is a crisis. We are asking for practices that will encourage a return to business and a return to the downtown offices. We are asking for the city to do its job in the prevention of theft and destruction, with no tolerance for violence and assault. We are asking for support for the businesses that have long served as blocks in the city’s foundation—some even for decades.

We are asking you to stand up, take action, help us fight, and help us be part of the city’s future to make this city vibrant again before it’s too late. We need the people back, and we need to ensure their safety.

Please let us know your plan.

Rising crime is bad for business

These businesses have a good reason to worry. No single person of business thrives in an environment they feel unsafe. This is why people leave crime-ridden cities taking their jobs, businesses, and incomes with them to their new place. And if they cannot move, they live in fear, unable to freely invest in their communities, either socially or economically.

We have already observed the recent trend of people buying guns and ammunition at record rates in Minnesota. This is a direct result of the social and civil unrest that plagues Minneapolis and has left people feeling unsafe. And if this trend continues, it will not be too long till Minneapolis resembles some kind of a ghost town.

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