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Residents near south Minneapolis homeless encampment decry crime and "chaos"

South Minneapolis residents feel unsafe due to nearby homeless camp
South Minneapolis residents feel unsafe due to nearby homeless camp 02:21

MINNEAPOLIS — For the second time in less than three years, residents near East 29th Street and Fifth Avenue South in Minneapolis are living next to an encampment.

"We have so much anger behind the city allowing this to happen. We feel so wronged," said one neighbor.

This homeowner says he did not want his face shown for fear of what would happen if the occupants of the encampment knew it was him speaking out.

RELATED: Businesses along East Lake Street feeling the weight of a growing homeless encampment

"If I walk down the street, I am going to get harassed. We can't even be outside without people like getting mad at us for looking at them walking through our alley," he said.

He says on March 27, from inside his home, he watched as people cut the locked fence to gain access to the yard.

"As they are breaking in, more of us are calling the cops and more and more of them are showing up, it happened so fast. They are pulling cars up, they are pulling trailers up, they are unloading everything," he said.

He says many in his neighborhood do not feel safe.

"I'm looking outside and I got people sitting on their blankets, shooting drugs on the other side of my alley. We just had a homicide, right? They've only been here for two weeks but it's back to the same thing that it was," the neighbor said.

The body of a 24-year-old man was found near the encampment on April 8.

In 2021, another encampment went up in the same area. According to 911 records, there were more than 2,800 calls for service to that area from July through December. Officers responded to reports of shots fired, damage to property, assaults and drug activity.

"But now, them allowing our block to go back through the same thing that we had gone through is a complete injustice to our neighborhood," he said.

In just the last five weeks, there have been seven disturbance calls, three stabbings, one explosion, two ShotSpotter activations and one murder on that block.

RELATED: Minneapolis City Council members, Mayor Jacob Frey clash on homelessness response after fire at encampment

Neighbors came together to present a letter to city leaders describing what they call "the chaos" in their community.

"We are again struggling with drug dealers doing business so close to our homes and harassing our kids," the letter read, in part.

They want the city to take action immediately for their survival.

"If you were to talk to other homeowners, they've got bullet holes in their houses," he said.

The city of Minneapolis sent a statement saying it is working to close the encampment on 5th Avenue South:

Closure is likely to take place next week and the city will provide one week advance notice prior to closure. Outreach workers continue working on connecting community members at the encampment with available services from Hennepin County and other community partners. These resources include shelters, housing, mental health, and addiction services.

The city continues to balance the needs of encampment residents with those of nearby residents and businesses when considering its response.

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