‘It's just not acceptable’: Minneapolis business leaders respond to downtown crime

Leaders of the Minneapolis Downtown Council and the Minneapolis Regional Chamber are calling for an increased police presence downtown. (FOX 9 Minneapolis-St. Paul)

In a joint press conference, leaders of the Mpls Downtown Council and the Minneapolis Regional Chamber called for an increased police presence downtown saying current crime levels are hurting downtown businesses.

“The business community in downtown Minneapolis is not standing idly by while the events that we’ve experienced, especially recently, have occurred. That’s not going to be our new normal,” Steve Cramer, President and CEO of the Mpls Downtown Business Council, said.

 Cramer and other business community leaders said they decided to take a public stand and demand some action to make downtown safer after a man was shot and killed near the corner of Hennepin Avenue and 8th Street on Saturday night. 

“We just can’t put our head in the sand and pretend it’s not happening. It is and we need to respond effectively to it,” Cramer said. 

Cramer and Jonathan Weinhagen, President and CEO of the Minneapolis Regional Chamber said in a press conference on Wednesday they both support Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey’s proposal to add more police officers to the department. 

“Certainly additional police resources is a step in the right direction, our current police force is spread very thin,” Cramer said. 

Some downtown businesses are taking safety measures into their own hands. The president of JB Hudson Jewelers, Nick Pechman, said this year the store invested $100,000 in security. In previous years he said they had invested around $8,000. 

“Unfortunately what we’ve seen in recent years is kind of this slow digression into an environment where we’re experiencing public health risks, disturbances right outside our doors, whether it’s public intoxication, drug use, other aggressive solicitation tactics and loitering and things like that,” Pechman said. 

Pechman said he would like to see more officers on the street and would like to see an increase in enforcement of petty crimes that can create an unwelcoming environment in areas like Nicolett Mall.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has proposed adding 14 additional officers to the police force. This proposal came after Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo requested adding an additional 33 officers.