BarLINK Connects Minneapolis Bars, Increases Awareness of Downtown Crime

October 16, 2018 07:40 PM

The city of Minneapolis reports violent crime in the city's downtown is way down.

Police have increased patrols in the area and businesses have banned together to help report crime with help form a new system led by the Downtown Improvement District.


The city attributes the 25 percent drop in violent crimes to many efforts and partnerships, including what's happening inside the DID's Safety Communication Center.

Target Field, Target Center and U.S. Bank Stadium security are all linked back to the communication center via radio, and now bars and restaurants are modeling their own BarLINK text chain after that same system.

"We're taking what we've done with major professional security groups and saying, 'Hey, could we do this with the nightlife,' and that's what we're exploring with this group here," said Shane Zahn, director of Safety Initiatives with the Downtown Improvement District.

More from KSTP:

City of Minneapolis Attributes New Initiatives to Drop in Violent Crime

Police: 3 Shot Inside Minneapolis Night Club

The past weekend, dispatchers at the DID's Safety Communication Center sent an alert out on the BarLINK WhatsApp text chain to the seven businesses currently enrolled to warn them of shots fired following Sunday morning's shooting at Aqua Nightclub.

"And its not always necessarily that. It could be, 'We just had a pick pocket in here,'" said Joanne Kaufman with the Warehouse District Business Association.  "Or, 'We just had a bunch of phones disappear off the bar and this is what that person looks like.'"

In addition to BarLINK, the Safety Communication Center is also connected with social services agencies in the city in case dispatchers need to send an advocate out to help provide services and resources.

"We can see if we have somebody on staff from St. Stephens, YouthLink or DID Liveability teams and security can work with them to help for a social service intervention," said Zahn.


Katherine Johnson

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