Pirate on Patrol


[Editor’s Note:  Southside Pride has been concerned about safety on Lake Street. We feel there is a need for some kind of foot patrol to talk to people who walk and work on the Street and who live in the neighborhood and find out what’s happening. We don’t have the money to hire a private security firm, and C.J. Sparrow doesn’t have the money to buy ads for his campaign for mayor, so we agreed to publish ads for C.J. in exchange for him walking up and down Lake Street and talking to people on the Street about what’s happening. Our arrangement with C.J. is in no way an endorsement of his candidacy.]
Walking around Bloomington and Lake Street, I noticed a storefront that had a couple of signs on it that said “Closing soon, 30% off.” The business name was Petacas Luggage, at 1509 E. Lake St. I went in and asked the owner why he was closing his business.  He had a one-word reply: “Trump.” The second thing he mentioned was the crime on the streets near his business. He specifically mentioned drug dealing and prostitution. He said his name was Santos Jimenez Hernandez.
He said that ever since Donald Trump became president, and actually starting a month before he was even elected, his customers, who were mostly Latino, were staying away from that area in droves. When asked, he confirmed the obvious. It was fear of being arrested for being in this country illegally and being deported that was the reason they were staying away.
When I asked him about how he knew the people he suspected of being prostitutes were actually engaged in that activity, he said that they were always the same women and usually they were wearing the same clothing as they had been wearing previously. He said the drug dealers could be recognized by also being the same people day after day. He said that prostitution dried up in the winter months but that some of the drug dealers stayed around all winter.
On April 19, I interviewed Jonathan Cabrera about his experience living in the Midtown area of South Minneapolis near 28th and Bloomington. Jonathan is from Ecuador. He said he is 19 and has been living here 11 years.
He said he has noticed what appear to be people engaged in prostitution on Bloomington between Lake Street and Franklin.
Once, near 31st Street and Longfellow, he saw a young woman crying. She told him she was prostituting herself on Lake Street but that she didn›t want to do what she was doing anymore. As he was talking to her he noticed two men in a car observing them. Judging from their appearance, and the car they were in, he assumed that one of them might be her pimp so he decided not to pursue the issue and he left the area.
Jonathan’s family has had about five bikes stolen in the time he has lived here.  He has noticed vandalism too, in the form of “tagging,” which is painting or using markers to paint gang signs on property or other objects. He said he believes this gang activity to be the work of a group called SUR 13 or, Sureños, which is mostly Mexican. He remembers the gangs from when he was in the eighth grade, when most of the gang members were about three years older than he was. He said gang activities have subsided since that time.
He said he notices activities that appear to be drug dealing in the area too. Sometimes he sees a car pull up to pick someone up. The car then seems to drive around the block and then drop off the person they just picked up before driving off again. He has also heard gunshots, but that is a rare event now.
He said a friend of his had been robbed behind K-Mart, at Lake and Nicollet. He said the perpetrator appeared to be Native American. Jonathan has not been robbed in the area where he lives, but was robbed once on the north side of Minneapolis.
He said his mom now waits for the bus at 31st Street and Bloomington because she was the victim of an attempted robbery on Lake Street and Bloomington.
He thinks the police are more active now, resulting in less crime. He said the crime began to decline about five years ago. He said there are mostly nice people in the neighborhood. He has had no problem with ICE (Immigration and Custom Enforcement) yet.

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