MPD to introduce new late night patrols in Dinkytown

Police made the decision in response to increased pedestrian traffic after bars close.

Students line up for food at the Dinkytown McDonald's on April 7, 2017.

Ellen Schmidt

Students line up for food at the Dinkytown McDonald’s on April 7, 2017.

Niamh Coomey

The Minneapolis Police Department is rolling out additional patrols in Dinkytown to address an increase in people seeking late-night bites after bars close on weekends. 

In recent years, many Dinkytown restaurants have begun staying open later — until 2:00 a.m. or 3:00 a.m. — in order to accommodate crowds leaving local bars. This increased foot traffic has led to an increase in crime and disturbances in the area. In response, MPD is introducing new regular patrols during those hours. 

2nd Precinct Crime Prevention Specialist Nick Juarez confirmed the new two-person patrol program in an email statement to the Minnesota Daily. The patrol is expected to begin in 2019.

Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association board member Marcus Mills has been pushing for more patrols for the past year and a half. He said a lack of cheaper restaurants downtown and access to light rails draws people from all over the city to Dinkytown after bar close.  

“The situation had gotten either severe enough or regular enough … that the 2nd Precinct went, ‘We should just work this into what we’re doing,’” Mills said. “I am extremely thankful and quite happy and proud … for their presence of mind to see an issue of this magnitude.” 

Mills said the restaurants can make up money lost during the school day due to the students opting for on-campus dining options by remaining open for these extra-late night hours. 

“In that hour between 2:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m., [the restaurants] could make up almost all of that shortfall,” Mills said. 

University of Minnesota student McKenna Egbert worked at Blarney Pub and Grill last year, which closes at 2:00 a.m. 

“Most people don’t get to Blarney until after midnight,” Egbert said. “I think Blarney is usually a last stop for people.” 

She said by 3:30 a.m., when she normally went home, Dinkytown wasn’t very busy. But spots like McDonald’s, Qdoba and Insomnia Cookies were popular right after the bars closed. 

This increase in pedestrian traffic in the area late at night led to more noise, thefts and fights, Mills said. 

Mills discussed the idea of increasing patrols with police in the 2nd Precinct and other community members. He hoped to model the Dinkytown patrols after recent efforts by the Nicollet Island – East Bank Neighborhood Association, an organization in the area neighboring Marcy-Holmes to the west. Businesses in the Nicollet and East Bank area raised funds to hire a patrol officer for the area during late-night hours. 

Before Dinkytown businesses could begin fundraising, MPD saw the need for the extra patrols and decided to work it into regular policing themselves, Mills said. 

Kent Kramp, the president of the Dinkytown Business Alliance and owner of Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers in Dinkytown, said local businesses work closely with the 2nd Precinct to address ongoing safety concerns.

“There’s a community of people there living and functioning, there’s people working, there’s businesses that are open, there’s people going places so it has to be treated just like the rest of it,” he said. “If there’s an increase in crime there needs to be an increase in patrols.”