Where are the police? That’s a question that is being asked and repeated by black-owned businesses operating on the corner of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue, aka “George Floyd Square,” as they struggle to remain open amid plummeting revenues and rising crime.
The chief problem, owners say, is that “police have abandoned the blocked-off intersection, creating a dangerous autonomous zone” a la Seattle’s “CHAP” during the “summer of love.” That’s according to the New York Post, which interviewed several of the area’s storekeepers:
“The city left me in danger,” the owner of Smoke In The Pit restaurant told The Post Thursday.
“They locked us up on here and left us behind,” said the merchant, who asked to be identified only as Alexander W. for fear of reprisals.
“They left me with no food, no water, nothing to eat,” he said. “The police, fire trucks, can’t come in here.”
The troubled merchants say they have lost 75% of their trade since the Floyd memorial was erected shortly after his death. A main contributing factor in the decline, according to a GoFundMe page, is “the reduction of the Minneapolis Police Department,” which has precipitated “uncontrollable crime in this city”:
Carjackings have nearly tripled and cars and catalytic converters are being stolen at high rates. Reports of bullets whizzing through the streets, businesses, innocent unintended residence homes, into cars and walls are plentiful. There is constant gunfire day and night, through all seasons despite the belief that winter would slow crime and gunfire it has not! In fact these Black businesses have suffered a similar fate having windows shot out from random gunfire, cars stolen, customers not patronizing businesses due to fear of violence in the neighborhood and throughout the city.
The Minneapolis City Council, readers may recall, voted unanimously to abolish the police department in June of 2020 only to wonder three months later why crime in the city had skyrocketed.
This vicious circle has been repeated before, always with the same result. The city of Boston witnessed a record murder rate in 2018, which many ascribed to relaxed police patrols following high-profile cases of what was viewed as police brutality. It happened in Brooklyn in 2014 after the execution-style murder of two New York City police officers as they set in their patrol car in a predominantly black section. The reduction in police presence on the streets following that outrage led to complaints by residents that there were no cops when you needed one.