Businesses keep crime secret

by Alex Ebert

Throughout my time as a reporter with the Minnesota Daily I have had difficulty getting specifics about crimes committed against businesses.

Both as a business intern and as the cops and courts beat reporter, this information has been integral to my reporting. But unlike victimized people, who usually work with media to get their crime story heard by the community, businesses tend to keep things under raps or are hesitant to speak with the media.

Businesses such as House of Hanson, Library Bar and Grill, Blarney Pub and Grill and Harvard Market have refused to cooporate with me and other reporters trying to write stories about area crime. This silence forces reporters to use information straight from police reports.

Mark Martinez, Library Bar and Grill marketing director, said media might interfere with ongoing police investigations, a sentiment echoed by Skott Johnson, president of the Dinkytown Business Association.

Time, however, seems to heal wounds (slightly), because business owners such as Greg Pillsbury from Burrito Loco and Laurel Bauer from the House of Hanson have spoken openly with me about crimes of the past.

This raises a serious queston: Why are business owners afraid to speak with media about recent robberies and burglaries, but tend to open up several months or years later?

What can the media do to serve the community, especially one sector that won’t talk?