MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — If anyone drives past the intersection of East 51st Street and South 34th Avenue in Minneapolis’ Nokomis neighborhood, they better believe there are eyes on them.

And that’s been the case for several nights, well into the morning.

“We did see some suspicious vehicles. Take a picture, take a video of it. Don’t engage,” neighbor Sarah Dutton said. “Really, we’re all just gonna look out for our own corridors.”

Neighbors along this south Minneapolis block have been patrolling the area from sundown to sun up, fearing their businesses might be a looters’ next target after watching the city around them burn for several nights.

“It is a high-stress time,” neighbor Chris McWethy said.

So they’re channeling that stress through action by wearing vests, and monitoring any vehicle or person passing through in a non-confrontational manner.

“Every approach is hello, how are you, are you lost, can I help you?” McWethy said. “And with that, at the very least, it is somebody has seen you, somebody knows that you’re in the area.”

Sarah Dutton says keeping the peace in the nights ahead doesn’t mean they’ve forgotten why this has all happened.

“We’re heartsick about what happened to George [Floyd],” Dutton said. “That is the main focus point here, and we have to remember that this is all about George.”

It’s bringing about a sense of community these neighbors never expected.

“We are banding together, we have become a more cohesive group,” McWethy said.

And one they plan to maintain beyond their city’s darkest hours.

“That’s just how Minneapolis folks are, that’s what we do. We get out there, we help each other,” Dutton said.

And it’s not just near this specific intersection. Neighbors have been riding by on bikes, sharing how they’re patrolling streets blocks away.

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Jeff Wagner

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