Minneapolis residents working together to create a safer neighborhood
Minneapolis residents who live in The Bessemer apartment complex off Snelling Avenue have a growing homeless encampment right in their backyard.
“There’s tons of littering, people on drugs. Honestly, I’ve seen prostitution happening down here, they’re selling drugs. My car got broken into like within a week of living here,” said Bemenet, a tenant at The Bessemer.
Just last week, a police report shows two shootings near the apartment, including one at a tent encampment on Franklin and Cedar avenues where a victim was shot and the suspect was nowhere to be found.
“Several shootings, people being hurt, screams. These are things that you wake up to in the middle of the night,” one tenant told us. “It’s sad to say that people call it ‘Murderapolis.’ I didn’t believe it until I came here.”
The apartment community joined hands in an effort to get 24-hour security services and exterior cameras, but residents say the apartment management is refusing to help.
Schafer Richardson, a commercial real estate agency in Minneapolis, sent the following statement to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS:
“We are aware of the tent encampment adjacent to The Bessemer. The on-site staff, our SR Regional Manager and our VP of Residential Property Management have been working diligently with the county, City of Minneapolis, Metro Transit, and neighborhood groups to try to find a solution that will keep the residents of The Bessemer and those wishing to use the trail and the light rail, safe.”
“We keep being told that it’s on us to keep ourselves safe, but there are things that can be done,” a tenant said.
“Sadly, I can’t break my lease until six months out and then after that I would have to pay $2,000 and some change,” Bemenet explained.
City councilmember Jamal Osman says the city is working to remove two encampments due to health and safety concerns. He expects to have an update regarding the removal on Wednesday.
“I will say I apologize to the residents that are living in the area. I know it hasn’t been easy. We get hundreds of calls each day, and we’re doing everything we can and I encourage them to continue reaching out to us,” said Osman.
While there are already resources available for those in need, Osman says not everyone is accepting of taking the resources. Businesses have also been forced to shut down as a result of crimes, but Osman notes violence doesn’t always stem from the encampments.
“The folks that are coming, they are the ones that are creating more problems in the neighborhood,” he said.
Nevertheless, residents say the chaos continues to harbor fear in those caught in the middle of it.
“I’m ready to leave this city, I’m ready to leave the state to be honest. It’s not worth,” one tenant said.
“It’s like shunned me out from the society or like social gathering,” said Bemenet.
In a statement, a city of Minneapolis spokesperson told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, “As with all encampments within Minneapolis, the City’s Homeless Response Team leads a collaborative response of multiple agencies including the Cross-Departmental City Review Team, Hennepin County and the Downtown Improvement District. The Homeless Response Team has been visiting and will continue to work with the unsheltered individuals at the encampment near the Bessemer Apartments until the site is closed. Encampments are prohibited by City ordinance as they impact community livability, public health, life-safety as well as the external impact on neighbors and business owners.”