Minneapolis police develop summer safety plan for downtown - My29 WFTC Minneapolis-St. Paul

Minneapolis police develop summer safety plan for downtown

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MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) -

Just this morning, a gun battle broke out in the heart of downtown Minneapolis, marking yet another violent incident near bar close. Now, the new downtown police commander says he has plan that will put an end to it.

With several big concerts at he Target Center and with the Twins in town, Memorial Weekend will be a busy one for the city -- and some business owners in the area are hoping it will be a safe one too.

"I do feel downtown is safe," said Jessica Snell, who says she enjoys working in the warehouse district on most days.

Still, Snell admits that there are times when the area does get a bit rowdy and she gets concerned -- and she does not like coming to downtown only to learn there was another act of violence the night before.

"It's worrisome -- not something you want to hear about the neighborhood you live and work in," she said.

Early Monday morning, Minneapolis police broke up a shoot out near Washington and 2nd avenues that sent two people to the hospital. The incident is one of many in the past couple of months that has involved a violent weapon around bar close on a Sunday night. Three people were arrested on warrants in that shooting, but they have not yet been charged.

The head of the downtown police force says the early warm weather has brought out a lot of young loiterers after closing time and the unseasonable temperatures are also bringing the uptick of summer violence out sooner than usual.

"This is -- literally -- day eight or nine for me, coming back from overseas in the military," said Inspector Eddie Frizell, the new head of the department's 1st Precinct.

After returning from more than a year spent in Afghanistan, Frizell says he's got his finger on the pulse of the problem and is looking for trends and patterns that affect safety in Minneapolis.

Some downtown business owners told FOX 9 News they worry that the trouble seems to happen on Sunday nights, which is when some clubs have 18 and up events. Even though the city closed one problem bar last year, the violence seems to have reappeared outside other clubs.

Frizell says he is finishing up the downtown summer safety strategy, which will include more officers on mounted patrol and also making ambassadors and beat officers more visible. Police may also move mobile surveillance cameras to problem areas.

Both Frizell and the Warehouse District Business Association stress that the violent outbursts are isolated incidents, and stress that downtown is a safe place for the overwhelming majority of people who live, work and play there.

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