Reporting Pat Kessler
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minneapolis police are cracking down on violent crimes on the worst crime day of the week: Sunday.
Starting Sunday night, there will be an extra police presence in the Warehouse District to curb a crime wave that explodes when the bars close.
Police say 80 percent of violent crimes downtown happens on weekends. Most of it is committed on Sunday nights by underage teens.
Council member Don Samuels says Sunday nights bring uniformed and mounted police, deputy sheriffs, metro transit cops, mobile cameras and even a State Patrol helicopter.
“It’s totally ridiculous that a first-class city allowed that to happen,” said Samuels. “The use of resources this part of town for a couple of bars is totally out of whack.”
Samuels says downtown clubs actually encourage violence: Allowing open drug use and underage drinking.
Champaigne Christensen, 18, and her friends often attend the under-21 events, and watch the drama when the bars close at 2 a.m.
“The trouble starts with the gang members that come down here and have fun,” said Christensen.
Under pressure, some downtown bars have agreed to end under-21 events.
Teens we spoke to don’t like it and say they’re being unfairly targeted.
“We don’t gang bang. Why we can’t go to the club? We want to party, too. Why you gotta be 21 to go to the club? We should be able to go the club any time we want to,” said downtown visitor Tierra Perry. “Why do they want to punish everybody for some of the immature teens?”
City regulators are now meeting with downtown clubs to curb the violence and tighten controls on underage drinking. But Samuels says the city’s patience is gone.
“If these clubs do not abide by the rules, we will shut them down,” said Samuels.
The crackdown started Sunday, but it’s only the beginning.
Mayor R.T. Rybak and City Council members are writing new laws to give the city more power to impose conditions on liquor licenses — even take them away.