Dinkytown business owners call for more area surveillance

Businesses are wanting security cameras installed in the area.

Pedestrians walk through Dinkytown Friday evening. Business owners in the neighborhood are pushing for more security cameras in an effort to stem crime in the area. 

Courtney Deutz

Pedestrians walk through Dinkytown Friday evening. Business owners in the neighborhood are pushing for more security cameras in an effort to stem crime in the area. 

Dinkytown business owners and managers are voicing concern over a lack of surveillance in the neighborhood.

Many owners say area nightlife can be unsafe for employees and customers due to inadequate security monitoring. Business owners are calling for the installation of more security cameras in response to the concerns.

Left Click Lounge owner Ryan Christianson said safety is “one of the biggest issues in Dinkytown.” 

Christianson said business owners should invest in cameras outside of their properties, adding it would likely help cut area crime. 

“People who want to do bad things don’t do bad things as frequently by cameras,” he said. “Obviously people don’t want to get caught.”

Dinkytown Business Alliance President Randy Gast said a lack of surveillance has impacted his business directly. 

“In all the years that I have watched people rob us and [with no] security cameras, I’ve never been able to capture people because of it,” Gast said, who also owns Qdoba Mexican Eats. 

But Ward 3 City Council Member Jacob Frey said the city can only provide portable cameras for businesses. 

If owners want stationary cameras, Frey said they would have to pay for them.

“If they want a … permanently-mounted [camera], they would have to be on their private property, so it would need to be theirs,” he said. “They can contact my office and I’d be happy to advocate for portable cameras.” 

But many business owners argue Minneapolis should pay for the surveillance.  

Pagoda owner Justin Lin feels Minneapolis should provide security cameras to prioritize public safety.

Lin said a man recently stole his maneki-neko — a Japanese figurine meant to bring luck to the owner — from his restaurant. On a separate occasion, he said someone also stole money from the business. The suspect has not been captured due to lack of evidence.

“[We’ve] had people … [throw] things at our windows and … [spray] graffiti on our walls,” Lin said. 

Brandon Lerold, manager of the Hideaway smoke shop in Dinkytown, reiterated the need for Minneapolis to install surveillance.  

Lerold said he was assaulted two months ago in “broad daylight,” yet no local businesses captured the incident. 

“Luckily we caught just a little … bit of glimpse of it but if other people had cameras, we would have had [enough evidence] to show the police what had happened,” he said. 

Blarney Pub & Grill General Manager Chris Love said Dinkytown has been in need of more safety precautions for years.

“I think that it’s pretty sad that we have campus alert systems because people get mugged and sexually assaulted in the streets,” he said.

Corey Schmidt, public information officer for the Minneapolis Police Department, said police rely heavily on cameras when investigating incidents.

“Expanding the current placement of cameras to other areas of the city would be useful, and something that can be looked at moving forward,” Schmidt said.