Minneapolis residents, business owners concerned over spike in crime

South Minneapolis residents say they’ve seen an increase in crime lately, including apartment break-ins and carjackings at gunpoint.

Steve Carlisle and his buddy Richie Stark said they both know people who have been crime victims in recent days. Both are now wondering if a lack of visible police presence following the death of George Floyd is contributing to the increased activity.

“I feel like people who want to do harm are getting more and more bold around here. It makes me feel bad,” Richie Stark said.

“I think we’re lacking that presence, so it’s just a little intimidating - a wild, wild west. People feel bold, almost, like, ‘What are you going to do?’” Steve Carlisle added.

Over the weekend, right across Nicollet at 42nd in front of The Lowbrow, a woman had her purse stolen from their outdoor table. Officials said a Toyota SUV pulled up, a suspect got out, snatched the purse, jumped back in and took off. The couple, who caught a license plate number, would soon learn from investigators that the vehicle was stolen.

An MPD spokesman said there has been a spike in recent weeks in carjackings and strong armed robberies, with some patterns suggesting a couple different groups may be responsible.

The department is pooling its resources across various units in an attempt to crack down on the criminal behavior.

Meanwhile, one downtown business owner is frustrated, as his pub has basically been shuttered during the pandemic and he’s also had his business broken into twice.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think you’d see anything like this in a major city,” said Dermot Cowley with O’Donovan’s Irish Pub.

On July 17, a group of four smashed their way into the pub and made off with nearly his entire stock of booze and liquor.

“In the space of two hours, they went in, they took everything - stole a mop bucket, filled with bottles and wheeled it off.”

Vandals also recently kicked in some of his decorative fencing around his patio. Cowley said he’ll try to open this weekend, but if he can’t build any momentum and create a safe environment, he’s thinking of packing it in and waiting until next year to resume his business.