Love it when articles are premised on conspiracy theories:
“We all know the statistics are unreliable,” says Joanne Kaufman, former Warehouse District Business Association executive director. “Bars don’t call the cops because they don’t want their insurance costs to rise. The police don’t make arrests. There are not no-arrest stats, to the best of my knowledge.”
If only it were the 80s and 90s again, when crime never happened in the Warehouse District
“It was a very special time. It was happening,” says restaurateur Brenda Langton (she owns Spoonriver near the Guthrie), who operated Café Brenda with husband Tim Kane at First Avenue and Fourth Street from 1986 to 2009. “The area had a magical urban feel. It was authentic and uncontrived.”
Interesting how the extremely obvious subtext of these comments is never made text by the article, especially knowing the statistics on those "nuisance laws":
Mahoney is not a fan of the changes in downtown policing and criminal justice, which he sees as advantaging victimizers. “The definition of right and wrong has changed,” he says. “The nuisance laws gave police tools to make life difficult for predators. Now, ‘When will the cops intervene?’ is everyone’s question. You don’t really know. Crime is ratcheting up because there are no consequences. The cops won’t engage because there is no upside for them.”
Appreciate these comments by Chief Arradondo:
“But a lot of it is not criminal conduct,” he continues. “It’s a lack of civility and respect. That isn’t illegal. It’s not a police matter. Of course I understand that the workers and residents down there have to put up with it. But we were being hit with lawsuits that our policing was unconstitutional. Quick fixes [to deter civility offenses] hurt our community relations.
I think this section is really revealing:
The policy has a practical and aspirational side. “The jail has 33,000 admissions a year, at $132 a day in cost to taxpayers. And low-level offenders were mostly released in one to two days,” says Barnette. “We’re no longer keeping the trespasser or the open-bottle offender in jail. We’re keeping chronic offenders, bench warrants. The order was prompted because there was a lot of racial disparity in these low-level offenses. African-Americans represented 12 percent of the population and 53 percent of the police bookings.”
Also of note: 52 percent of the people in Hennepin County jail are suffering from chronic mental illness, says Arradondo.
R.T. Rybak, now president and CEO of the Minneapolis Foundation, is well aware of the effects of racial disparities in the city, but he says he is concerned about replacing one injustice with another. “Overincarceration should not be confused with people’s right to a safe environment.”
Barnette emphasizes his empathy for those repeatedly exposed to aggressive incivility. “Do I want to walk down Hennepin Avenue and have someone say something to my wife? No,” he says. “But that’s not a crime. We’ve got to find other solutions than the jail for these people.”