By Kirsten Mitchell

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — People living in a popular Minneapolis entertainment district say troubling behavior is keeping them up at night.

From screeching tires and blaring music, a North Loop resident survey found crime to be a big concern.

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The neighborhood, located near downtown Minneapolis, has drastically changed over the past 10 years — going from an industrial warehouse district to a thriving community with entertainment and housing.

While violent crime remains relatively low, a shooting at Muse Event Center in March left at least one person injured. Street racing is another concern, residents said.

“I think people underestimate the positive impact that they can have in any bad situation,” longtime resident Aileen Johnson said.

Crime concerns sparked an idea. Johnson started the North Loop Neighborhood Safety Block Club, a group of now more than 40 people. They walk around in bright orange shirts during peak weekend hours.

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“One of the things that we really wanted so much at the very beginning was that strong partnership between residents, business and [Minneapolis Police]. All of us in the same boat, rowing in the same direction,” Johnson said.

(credit: CBS)

The group consulted with the police department to determine which hours were best for their walks. They decided on Friday and Saturday evenings, as well as early Saturday morning and Sunday afternoon. During their first walk this past weekend, they assisted a woman in distress by calling 911. The group said the woman eventually was reunited with her parents.

“When you live in a dense community like this with lots of apartments, lots of condominiums, we’re in it together,” North Loop Neighborhood Association Board Member Patrick Dawson said.

Dawson said a survey of 2,500 residents showed safety and livability a top concern for 2022.

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The group walks in two-hour shifts during the weekends, and is looking for more young people to get involved. They also hold a safety meeting every six weeks with MPD, their city councilmember and anyone else who wants to be there.

Kirsten Mitchell