Minneapolis business leaders have lodged a desperate plea with city officials to address a storm of crises greatly affecting commerce, including surging crime and oppressive coronavirus rules.
Over 40 prominent members of the downtown business community signed an open letter to Mayor Jacob Frey and the Minneapolis City Council, who have been working for months to “dismantle” the city’s police department.
After addressing the damage coronavirus-related regulations have done to local businesses, the group makes clear “this goes beyond COVID.”
“There is no current plan of action, cure, or sense of ‘We’re all in this together’ for the other worries plaguing downtown, specifically, the real and perceived rising rates of crime,” the letter states.
“The numbers speak for themselves, and the vibrations throughout Minneapolis can’t be ignored: Perception begets reality, and the strong feelings of unsafety in our downtown are very real. No matter which side of the ‘defund the police’ debate you fall on, the absence of communication and transparency about public safety plans creates even more fear, uncertainty and frustration.”
The letters points out that, despite many businesses being either “boarded up for months” or closed altogether, owners continue to pay rent and property taxes.
“We are still supporting the city, but the city is not supporting us,” the group emphasized, adding, “we need to reverse course before we become a lost city.”
Many business have reportedly already left the city, or are making plans to do so.
“We are asking for acknowledgement from you of the Minneapolis crisis, and yes, it is a crisis,” the group says. “We are asking for practices that will encourage a return to business and a return to the downtown offices. We are asking for the city to do its jobin the prevention of theft and destruction, with no tolerance for violence and assault.”
In August, Minneapolis police advised residents they should “be prepared” to surrender to criminals and “do as they say” if confronted.
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