Recently 50 residents living at 2909 Bloomington Ave. S. met with Minneapolis Police Officer Mukhtar Abdulkadir to find solutions to crime and safety problems that have been plaguing their neighborhood and their building.
The people living at 2909 Bloomington Ave. S. are predominantly Somali, and many residents speak limited English. In the past the language barrier has often meant that some residents have not contacted the police to report crime problems, and when they do they often feel the police do not understand them and are slow to respond adequately.
Meeting with Abdulkadir, who is Somali, was the first time many of the residents have talked in their native language about their crime and safety problems with a police officer. They explained in detail to Abdulkadir what was happening in their neighborhood and in their building.
Their biggest complaints were about intruders who on a daily basis get into their building and sleep in the front lobby and stairwells overnight, sneak into the underground garage and break into cars, sell drugs in the building, urinate in the hallway and kick in windows in the middle of the night. Residents also said that prostitutes regularly walk the sidewalk outside their building, and even get into the building and ply their trade downstairs and in the stairways.
Families also talked about concerns they had for the safety of their children. Scores of children live at 2909 Bloomington Ave. S., and everyday dozens play in the open space out back. Their play often spills out into the alley. Parents said that many drivers speed through the alleys at excessive speeds, and the residents suggested that their children would be safer with a fence separating the play area from the alley traffic.
After hearing the lengthy and passionate descriptions of the intrusions and problems, Abdulkadir said that the problem with the intruders was so big that he thought security inside the building was necessary. He also said that working security cameras were a must.
Abdulkadir also said he was ready to continue working with the residents to successfully deal with their crime problems.
Abdulkadir told the families about how he became a Minneapolis police officer, and encouraged the youth to consider a career in law enforcement
While frustrated by the crime problems in their neighborhood and building, many said they felt heartened after their meeting with Abdulkadir, and appreciated having a police officer they knew who could speak their own language.
The building residents also hope to meet with councilmember Alondra Cano to voice their concerns.