St. Paul businesses suffer the effects of higher violent crime

In August, St. Paul wasn’t seeing a surge in homicides in 2021 over 2020’s already-high numbers comparable to that seen in Minneapolis. At the time, St. Paul had just recorded its 17th homicide of 2021, compared to 19 for the same period in 2020. St. Paul has now recorded 32 homicides so far this year, compared to 27 for the same period in 2020: an increase of 18 percent.

This increase in violence in St. Paul was highlighted in horrific fashion recently when a gunfight broke out in a bar on the city’s popular West 7th Avenue, which left 16 people injured and 27-year-old Marquisha Wiley dead. The main damage of this violence is, of course, to those killed and wounded. But it will corrode the city more generally if it is allowed to continue unchecked.

WCCO reports:

A week after the deadly shooting, surrounding businesses are feeling the impact. Tom Reid’s Pub is down over 50% in terms of customers. Foot traffic remains quiet and other businesses admitted that their employees didn’t feel comfortable coming back to work this weekend.

Those who frequent the area also say they’re more vigilant.

“You may hear one person got shot here or over there, maybe a next-door neighbor. But when 15 people are shot, there’s a level of recklessness involved and so that brings up a lot more caution,” said Nico Las Burton.

West 7th is one of the city’s main attractions. If visitors are not safe — or do not feel safe — there will be an outsized impact on St. Paul’s economy, especially with hockey season getting underway at the Xcel tonight with the Wild taking on the Winnipeg Jets in their home opener.

At a forum for St. Paul mayoral candidates last week, Mayor Carter gave an upbeat, optimistic appraisal of the state of the city after four years of his leadership. Unsurprisingly, the other candidates did not echo this assessment.