Friday, June 30, 2006

Previously Unreported: Gang Stabbing At Southdale

Many of you may be familiar with the first-ring, wealthy Minneapolis suburb of Edina, which sits on the southwestern edge of Minneapolis. Among many other things, it's home to Southdale, a long-standing and very popular enclosed shopping mall that draws a million visitors per month.

Well, the Edina Police have just released crime statistics for the January to May period: Thefts are up 66% and disturbances are up 33% as compared with the same period last year.

That's not good, but it's not the most disturbing bit of news: A heretofore unreported gang stabbing occurred in the mall on May 13th, 2006.

This event has been lost in the larger MSM, but the story has been vastly more developed in the micro-local Edina version of the Sun Newspaper.

Here's the entirety of the KSTP Eyewitness News report: "Southdale under crime alert after thefts".

Shoppers at the first enclosed shopping center in the United States are now being advised to be on alert against theft.

Edina police say Southdale shopping center has experienced a significant increase in crime in the past year.

Police say there has been a 66 percent increase in theft and a 33 percent increase in disturbance calls.

The increases in theft occurred both in cars and in the mall.

Edina police are working to hire another officer to combat the crime.
And here's the Sun Newspaper link, which is significantly more detailed and includes information on the stabbing: "Number of police calls on rise at Edina's Southdale Center".

Fifty years after becoming the country's first fully enclosed shopping mall, Edina's Southdale Center is facing more challenges than just finding a new owner.

The number of theft and disturbance calls that the Edina Police Department received from Southdale Center between January and May are up compared to figures from 2005, according to Edina Police Chief Mike Siitari.

In addition, a gang-related stabbing at the mall last month was another sign that the area is different than it used to be, according to police.

At about 7:45 p.m. May 13, a group of people were walking up the stairs in the mall when they encountered a rival gang. Offensive words were exchanged and a 17-year-old boy was stabbed in the chest. He was taken to the hospital where he was treated for injuries and released, according to Lt. Jeff Long of the Edina Police Department.

More . . .
Now, I wouldn't go so far as to say Southdale is unsafe by any stretch of the imagination, but this incident is signficant. Because of the mall's proximity to Minneapolis, the gang activity could be the result of violent criminals expanding their territory to outlying areas. We've seen evidence of this in a previous story on Hopkins' soaring crime rate.

This is an example of how Minneapolis crime can affect us all. Those who live in the suburbs of Minneapolis should not get complacent, because Minneapolis' problems could be all of our problems.