(TheLibertyRevolution.com)- Minneapolis is the epicenter of the civil unrest that’s been happening across America since May, when George Floyd, a Black man, was killed by police officers.
The city has dealt with protests that have turned to riots. Looters and rioters have destroyed businesses and made things downtown unsafe.
And while all this is happening, locals are reporting that the police presence is much less than it was before. The city has called for plans to dramatically overhaul the city’s police force, as calls to “defund the police” have rung across the city from Black Lives Matter protesters.
Some leaders in the city are now worrying that the unrest, combined with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, could spell long-term economic doom for Minneapolis.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune did an in-depth report over the weekend citing local business owners, real estate statistics and business leaders that delved into this topic. The paper reported that downtown apartments have a 6.4% vacancy rate, while condo listings were up 46% in July compared to July 2019.
In addition, roughly 85% of the workforce in Minneapolis is still working remotely because of the coronavirus pandemic, and some of those jobs may become permanent telecommuting roles. When taken together, this is a recipe for economic troubles as people and businesses either relocate or don’t come into the city to frequent stores and restaurants.
As the president of the Minneapolis Downtown Council, Steve Cramer, said:
“Realistically, when we come out of this condition that we’re in … I just think there’s going to be a new lower baseline of economic activity for downtown.”
The Downtown Council has said that calls to dismantle the Minneapolis police department — from both residents and the City Council — could be a deterrent to the economy. In June, the council released a statement that read:
“There is an unmistakable and significant negative impact from the framing of a needed discussion about improving law enforcement and other public safety efforts as ‘dismantling the Minneapolis Police Department.’ Without a clear understanding that policing services will be reinvented but not eliminated in our City, we can anticipate the desirability of Minneapolis as a community to live, visit, invest, and create/maintain jobs will diminish.”
Despite this, the City Council is pushing forward with plans to dismantle the police department and replace it with a public safety task force. Unarmed “professionals” would be sent to help in circumstances where police would normally go, such as mental health calls or domestic disputes.
The reality, though, is that Minneapolis is just the type of city that could use extra police, not less. As of August 3, the city is experiencing a five-year high in violent crimes. Homicides have nearly double — there have been 41 in 2020 so far compared to 21 last year by this time.
The second-highest mark recently was back in 2017, when there were 24 homicides as of August 3. Aggravated assaults are also up, standing at 1,679 this year compared to 1,423 in 2019.