Members of Minneapolis’ Somali-American community say one of their main business districts — often referred to as “The Somali Mall” — is so ridden with crime, they no longer feel safe.
Located at 24th Street East and home to dozens of businesses, more than 100 911 calls have been placed from the location since last October, according to police records. Problems include assaults, thefts, fights, and property damage.
“I know a friend of mine being beaten up here badly and took his car,” customer Asad Abdulahi recalled Monday.
The owner of Juba Cafe, located across the street from the mall, said she’s called police before and has customers who’ve left her business only to be robbed at gunpoint while walking back to their cars.
“Everybody is saying this place is not safe,” Hali Mohamud said through an interpreter.
Others explained the security concerns are emblematic of larger problems in the Somali-American community, including a high unemployment rate and widespread poverty.
“We don’t get any help,” Murio Khayre said, also through an interpreter.
While reporters requested an interview with Minneapolis Police Department officials to discuss the community’s concerns, a spokesperson replied with a statement, saying, “Violent crime in the Third Precinct is down 12% while proactive stops by our officers are up 55% this past week. ”