Monday, April 10, 2006

A Local Perspective On Uptown Violence

While typically a newspaper for the urban socialists, the Southwest (Minneapolis) Journal can be a good source of information for the occasional article on crime and it's effect on residents. The paper is fairly high quality, but is generally geared toward local leftist politics, "renewable resources", or the liberal cause du jour (sorry about the French). However, when a major event like the Michael Zebuhr murder happens, even they won't ignore it: "Uptown residents look for answers, ways to fight crime following brutal murder".

Note the use of "brutal murder", which is exactly what it was. I applaud a news organization that can tell it straight.

There are some interesting comments by local residents:

While the more than 100 residents present at the March 21 community meeting voiced their shock and sorrow over the seemingly unprovoked attack, it was clear their frustration was about more than just this one incident.

Robberies in the 5th Precinct are up 43 percent compared to last year as of March 27, according to the Minneapolis Police Department.

Although robberies in the 5th Precinct are actually down half a percent when averaged over the last three years, one area resident after another spoke out at the community meeting about the noticeable increase in crime, especially robberies and burglaries.

Criminals are viewing our neighborhood as an ATM. They know their handgun is an ATM card and each of us is a potential money source,” said Mike Flowers, who lives on Girard Avenue South.
Did you read any of these kind of quotes in the Red Star?

Many residents have been the victims of robberies or burglaries themselves or know someone close to them who has been, said Calhoun Area Residents Action Group (CARAG) Community Coordinator Scott Engel.

Robberies are up like crazy, and that's what people are reacting to,” said Engel, who has worked in CARAG for nearly six years. “They know neighbors, they know family or they know friends who have been robbed, and this is different from the past.”

Two years ago, Engel said, crime was not a concern in the neighborhood. But in the last few years, he's been hearing more from residents who are frightened by the increase in the number and violent nature of crimes in the area.

“It's people with guns and people with knives, and we're seeing a lot more of it,” Engel said.
While this is an obviously negative topic, the comments are very refreshing to hear. Despite the spin you might get from the MSM, the average Joe in the Uptown, Minneapolis area is very concerned. And make no mistake, this area probably votes 80% liberal ticket, so these are no law and order conservatives. Even liberals can have a sense of self-preservation.

This is why more folks are turning to alternate sources of information like Rambix and the Red Star, Anti-Strib, etc.

Did you know about this:

A quick glance through police reports filed in Southwest during the first few months of this year shows a host of robberies similar to the one that led to Zebuhr's death.

During a Feb. 22 incident in the CARAG neighborhood - where Zebuhr's attack occurred - a suspect approached a 63-year-old woman from behind at West 32nd Street and Aldrich Avenue South and stole her wallet. The next day, a suspect robbed a 53-year-old man at gunpoint at West 34th Street and Lyndale Avenue South and stole his wallet. Both incidents occurred in the early evening.

Other Uptown neighborhoods, like the Wedge, have seen similar incidents. On Feb. 22, a suspect robbed two women and a man at gunpoint on the 2700 block of Colfax Avenue South. And the same week Zebuhr was shot, five men assaulted a man at 40th Street and Blaisdell Avenue in the Kingfield neighborhood. The men punched and kicked the victim and yelled “gimme your money” before fleeing.
Your people feel unsafe, Mayor Rybak. And these aren't just your city's visitors. These are your constituents. Your business owners aren't too happy either:

Mike Sherwood, who recently opened his second Pizza Nea restaurant at 1221 W. Lake St., pointed out that Uptown employees leaving work late with pockets full of tip money are especially vulnerable to robberies. He said one of his servers was mugged and beaten recently, suffering several broken teeth in the attack. Business in the area will likely suffer for a while as potential customers remain wary about visiting Uptown, he said.

“Nobody wants business to be slow, but what's more important here is that somebody lost their life,” Sherwood said.
There's a lot more information in the article, including some perspectives (from both sides) on police/community relations, and it's worth a read if you live, work, or play in the Uptown, Minneapolis area.

Once again, Mayor Rybak's Minneapolis has a systemic problem with gangs, thugs, and other riff-raff. It's time to clean the city of it's filth. There's too much at stake.