MINNEAPOLIS — Owners in a Minneapolis dining destination say a sudden surge in petty crime is leaving a bad taste in their mouth.
Surveillance video from Colonial Market on Eat Street shows people taking money out of tip jars and managers chasing down shoplifters.
The owner thinks it’s people living in the new encampment two blocks down.
Other businesses in the area have had difficulties too.
Gus Parpas, the owner of the Greek restaurant Christos, says people come into his restaurant looking to stir trouble instead of buy anything.
“You’re trying to be as caring and as openhearted as you can be, but it’s also like hey, this is turning into a hazard,” said Ben Spangler, a vendor at the Eat Street Crossing food hall. “This is not safe.”
The owners of seven Eat Street businesses are now coming together, hoping to get the attention of the city. They feel neglected.
“We are passionate about this neighborhood,” said Lina Goh, the owner of Eat Street Crossing. “We really want this neighborhood to thrive.”
Erica Christ with Black Forest Inn says, “the larger issue is the perception of the area, and the homeless encampment certainly doesn’t help that.”
“We really want our customers to feel welcome and safe,” said Daniel Hernandez, the owner of Colonial Market.
The City of Minneapolis says it doesn’t sanction the encampment, which is on both city and private property.
A spokesperson said they’re working with the property owner to close it.
But experts know solutions for unhoused people don’t come easily.
“As soon as those nights are getting cold, we hear from other shelter providers, as well as our own shelters, that we’re full every night,” said Michelle Perrin, the director of outreach and shelter for Agate Housing and Services.
Both the city and Hennepin County will be adding shelter capacity for the winter.
Minneapolis has committed $1 million toward building more tiny homes in south Minneapolis, similar to the ones in the North Loop.
The latest data shows there are about 350 people living without shelter in Hennepin County.
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