By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Gun battles, drug dealing and prostitution — that’s what neighbors in one part of north Minneapolis say they’re dealing with on a daily basis.

Homicides and other violent crimes are pulling police away. That’s leaving some neighborhoods feeling like they’re on their own.

The aftermath of a shoot out near Lowry and Logan Avenues in north Minneapolis has residents fed up.

“There was about 30 rounds shot,” Jake, a nearby resident told WCCO.

Several homes on the block were hit. Two showed up at the hospital and are expected to recover.

“It’s 24-hour crime,” Arthur Dent explained.

Neighbors call this a war zone, where crime is king.

“We’re seeing drug sales, I mean people pull up chairs and they sell it in our lawns, there is illegal gambling on the street, people selling firearm,” Jake said.

“It’s prostitution, its violence against women who can’t protect themselves, we’ve had somebody sexually assaulted in our front yard,” Dent explained.

Both of these men watch the violence from their homes, afraid to show their faces because they’ve been warned to stay quiet.

“Somebody got my attention with a weapon to make sure that I understood that I needed to be careful,” Dent said.

But the day after their block was shot up, Minneapolis Police were there to help quell the growing tension between people who live here and those occupying their block.

“You can see the hurt and the pain in these people,” Jake added.

Neighbors want to see an end to the situation on their street but understand this group will simply migrate to another area of the city. They believe it is more important to address the systemic issues at play that create a situation like this.

“They need help other than just being arrested,” Jake said. “We don’t want it to be the police coming in and taking everyone away, we want some kind of help, we want to find ways to get treatment for some of these people.”

This neighborhood believes it will take the work of mental health care workers, addiction counselors, housing specialist working with police and the city council to right what is wrong here.

Police are responding but have to prioritize calls for service.

“A lot of people getting shot, shootings and shots fired — even homicides,” Inspector Kevin Pulpus of the Minneapolis Police. “So we prioritize that kind of call we respond to first and foremost and that puts everything else in the back of the line.”

MPD is stretched thin and officers from other precincts are helping respond to the shootings plaguing the community.

“It is absolutely unacceptable to experience gun violence in our community, particularly gun violence to that extent,” Phillipe Cunningham said.

Getting back to some sort of normalcy is what residents in this corner of north Minneapolis so desperately want.

“The community doesn’t operate without the right kinds of support,” Dent added.

Councilman Cunningham believes the corner store in the area has to take responsibility for some issues. Its owner will have an appeal hearing next week.

The city licensing department is trying to temporarily shut it down for violations.

Reg Chapman

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