The problems facing Minnesota’s small businesses: higher crime

Violent crime is exploding in Minneapolis.

Figure 1 shows the number of homicides in Minneapolis for the period from January 1 to June 8 in the current year and each of the previous 13 years. The average number of homicides over that period was 13 from 2008 to 2019. The number for 2021 is more than double that and is more than twice the number for 11 of the previous 13 years. This is a very real problem, and not just a “panic” as someone on social media said last week.

Figure 1: Homicides in Minneapolis, January 1 to June 8

Source: City of Minneapolis

It is starting to impose an economic cost. On Sunday, WCCO reported:

The owner of Juut Salonspa says the Uptown Minneapolis location will close due to “continued escalation of crime and violence in our neighborhood.”

“I would be heartbroken if any of our team or clients got hurt,” David Wagner wrote on Facebook.

The salon has been at Hennepin Avenue and Lake Street in various incarnations since 1986, according to Wagner. It officially became Juut Salonspa in 1999.

“We loved being part of the daily dynamic that an urban location provides, however, it has become more and more evident that Uptown continues to struggle with store closings, social unrest, crime, and street closures,” Wagner said.

The same day, in response to an interview request from a local reporter, the owner of the Blarney Pub & Grill in Minneapolis replied:

Minneapolis businesses are have been pushing city and state leaders to act to curb rising violence for a while now. Businesses in St. Paul are also feeling the effects of rising violent crime. After a year in which they have been battered by COVID-19 and the government response to it, they do not need the further pressure imposed by rising violence.

John Phelan is an economist at the Center of the American Experiment.