Minneapolis takes steps to reduce Sunday night crime in the Warehouse District

City of Minneapolis leaders today announced several steps the City is taking to respond to an increase in crime Downtown, particularly in the Warehouse District late on weekend nights. Most people who come Downtown don’t ever see the problem. That’s because much of this crime happens late at night on weekends and is fed by crowds and events at and around a small number of establishments, all located in a three-block area of the Warehouse District. About 80 percent of the violent crimes in Downtown take place between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m., particularly on Saturday and Sunday nights. These challenges have been most intense in and around several downtown nightclubs that hold concerts and events open to people 18 and older on Sunday nights.

Some of the steps that are under way now include:

Ordinance changes

At the July 20 City Council Meeting, two City ordinance changes will be introduced that would make it easier for the City to put conditions on new or existing business or liquor licenses. The flexibility will make it possible to address, among other things, stricter rules on separating legal drinkers from underage customers, or, should circumstances dictate, prohibitions on admitting any customers under the age of 21.

A second ordinance would make it easier to put conditions on licenses and permits held by other non-alcohol serving establishments. This would allow the City to better address other security concerns, such as hours of operation, occupancy levels, and security plans. Businesses that don’t follow the conditions of their licenses would risk losing them.

If approved by the City Council, these ordinances would give the City the ability to add license conditions on a case-by-case basis. Downtown has many well-managed nightclubs and bars that are not contributing to the rise in late-night problems. These ordinance revisions would help the City focus on problem businesses.

Holding clubs responsible

Starting this week, City regulators are meeting with clubs that are in the heart of the area with the most problems. Several club owners have already agreed to make changes to their operations, and the City will continue meeting with other businesses to make appropriate arrangements. Changes that some businesses have already agreed to include:

Tough, proactive policing

Throughout the summer, Minneapolis Police have been aggressively working to maintain safe streets downtown, with more officers on the streets, horse patrols, joint beat patrols with Hennepin County deputies and Metro Transit Police, probation beats and mobile cameras.

Published Jul. 19, 2012