MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Minneapolis Police are asking Dinkytown businesses to reassess security as crime continues to rise in the area.

Police want bars and restaurants to hire their own security to deal with crowd control issues. They believe it’s the only way to prevent a riot, like the one that happened in 2009 during Spring Jam.

This once quiet, college neighborhood has become more of an entertainment district in the past decade. Dinkytown businesses are booming, and housing construction is on the rise. And the boom has brought crime.

Minneapolis Police hope to deter the bad guys by placing off-duty cops in bars and restaurants. There are more than 30 bars and restaurants in a four-block area.

Sgt. Stephen McCarty is concerned because Dinkytown has become a gathering spot for non-students, students from other colleges, and criminals who see students at the U as targets.

“Security is kind of very important because we’ve also seen an increase in the aggravated assaults and robberies in the area,” McCarty said. “We’re just asking that security, the Dinkytown Business Association, help contribute to having more officers in the area.”

Dinkytown is not part of campus, so it’s the jurisdiction of MPD. Additional officers are working the beat between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. every night, but now they want more help.

“Second precinct is trying to get a handle on this before the Vikings start playing at TCF Stadium,” McCarty said.

Police feel Dinkytown is a target-rich environment; the beer combined with the late nights can make for an easy evening for criminals.

Blarney’s Bar and Grill owner Mike Mulrooney believes the extra security will help.

“It will make the customers in the area safer. It will make the businesses safer. So yes, I think it will help,” Mulrooney said.

He hopes the Dinkytown Business Association will take the sticker shock out of the equation.

“It’s extremely expensive. It will work fine as long as the expense is shared amongst all the businesses in the community,” he said.

Hiring off-duty officers could cost a business up to $50 an hour per cop.

Police are thinking about putting together police procedure similar to what they have in downtown Minneapolis – the increased security was said to have cut crime by more than 40 percent.

Reg Chapman