MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - City and state officials are detailing the next steps in an effort to crack down on crime at one of the most dangerous intersections in Minneapolis.
The corner of West Broadway and Lyndale avenues has had more than its fair share of violence in recent years. After years and years of rising crime in the area, the city is now discussing the future of two businesses at the corner that seems to be the sparking points for much of the violence.
The Minnesota Attorney General’s Office and Minneapolis Police Department are talking with the community about how they'll help stop the crime that's been going on here for years. Last week, after a violent stretch near that intersection, Merwin Liquors teamed up with We Push for Peace to get things moving and a couple of days in it seems to be working.
Last week when we were at Merwin, FOX 9 crews saw plenty of people loitering outside the storefront, with cars going in and out. This week though, Merwin's has had a different look.
"We let them know that there’s no congregating going on in front of this store, to no magnitude."
The group We Push for Peace is now partnered with Merwin's to "push’ for a positive change. But there’s still work to be done. Tuesday, there were still a few people circling the lot or hanging out but a marked improvement.
"At the end of the day, we're not the law," said Pollard. "We can’t make them do nothing but because of those relationships, and they know we respect them they know we actually care, they have respected us enough to just move."
Pollard noted consistency is the key here to keeping things calm. But he says with the work to keep the corner calm, his group also offers a path to a better life.
He says over the last few days, three of the men hanging out have taken him up on his offer for help making life changes.
"We could go over there and do something impactful but then we wouldn’t go over there for three weeks and there was nothing consistent going across the board so now we there every single day."
But it's not just Merwin's with a notable change. Across the street, Winner Gas appears to have hired security, also limiting the amount of loitering there. But Pollard notes that all four corners of Broadway and Lyndale really have to be involved in the change, as it appears that some of those that were hanging at Merwin's were now just hanging out across the street at the strip mall.
There is this lingering question as to why a 2019 safety and security agreement between Merwin's and the city wasn’t enforced. The city told FOX 9 they've had conversations with Merwin's but we weren’t able to get a real answer as to if MPD reported any violations to the licensing office and what was or wasn't done about it.
Frustrated residents bring concerns to city leaders
During Tuesday's meeting, city officials faced frustrated residents demanding action at Lyndale and Broadway.
"Dead bodies are happening here, the violence is happening, this is a very challenging neighborhood," one resident told FOX 9.
Frustrated neighbors are saying enough is enough and demanding answers now, after years of bloodshed on the corner of Lyndale and Broadway.
"They’re doing drugs on our field, they’re over there dancing naked outside the windows," said another speaker. "Kids are scared to come to school because they get propositioned on the corner. They're being offered drugs; they’ve been robbed at gunpoint for their cell phones."
Next door to the intersection, inside Sanctuary Church, some went as far as to call it a public health crisis, calling on the city to move in and take the licenses of Merwin's and Winner Gas.
"When you got a liquor store right there and then you got a murder station what they call that sells all the paraphernalia," said a speaker.
"We have to get businesses in the community that will help the community and the people in the community."
New City of Minneapolis public safety commissioner Dr. Cedric Alexander says all hands are on deck to find a solution.
"These two establishments Winner Gas station and Merwin's quite frankly are going to have to do more," said Dr. Alexander. "They owe this community a lot and they need to do more."
During Tuesday's meeting, city leaders were limited in their answers on what's next, due to the ongoing investigation to determine if the businesses are truly at fault or simply being made a scapegoat.