A few days ago, John explored the story of how as many as one-third of the currently serving police officers in Minneapolis may be taking an early exit from their careers and the dearth of potential replacements available. While it’s hard to blame the cops for considering clearing out of town under the current conditions, they may have company as they’re loading up the U-Haul rental trucks. A number of business owners in Minneapolis appear to have had it with their properties being smashed, emptied and set on fire. And if some semblance of normalcy and security can’t be restored, they will be looking to relocate to somewhere safer and taking all of their jobs with them. (CBS Minnesota)
A new survey by the Downtown Council shows 45 business owners say they are considering leaving downtown – citing the lack of people working or socializing downtown – and the idea that the police department could be dismantled.
Though they won’t say which businesses are considering pulling out of downtown, the council says one of the businesses employs 600 people.
That could mean a lot of empty spaces.
“We are seeing a lot of restaurants take a hit right now,” says realtor Kris Lindahl. He says to expect shared kitchens for restaurants and smaller spaces in general.
One factor in these decisions is definitely the government restrictions and social distancing requirements imposed on all businesses. Restaurants and bars in particular have had a rough time of it, but retail stores aren’t much better off. Limiting customer access to as little as one-quarter capacity and having fewer checkout stations translates to long lines and not all customers are willing to wait. Conducting business outdoors simply isn’t an option for everyone, and that’s particularly true in Minnesota when winter rolls around.
But those aren’t the only reasons that these employers are looking at pulling up stakes. The Downtown Council notes that virtually all of the owners thinking of moving on cited as a concern “the idea that the police department could be dismantled.”
Does this honestly come as a surprise to anyone? The need for a police department became glaringly obvious during the recent riots, particularly when they failed to show up. But even if the city somehow manages to return to a more “normal” state (whatever that means these days), you still need cops to discourage criminals who might otherwise go on emptying the stores anyway. And customers will not be as willing to come to the downtown area to go shopping if they don’t feel secure.
All of this should leave us wondering if we aren’t seeing a glimpse of the future, not just for Minneapolis, but for all of America’s big cities. Analysts are already posing the question, are we seeing the end of cities? Our urban centers are taking double hits at the moment. The first is, of course, the risks being exposed by the pandemic. The population density in most cities is so high that disease transmission is immeasurably harder to control. Just look at the infection rates this spring in New York City as compared to the rural counties to the northwest for one example. Staying isolated in such a concrete jungle is far more difficult than in the suburbs or rural areas.
But disease control isn’t the only consideration here. Most of our major cities undergoing massive social unrest have other things in common. They tend to be run by liberal politicians who enact layers of dangerous, socialist policies making it more difficult for citizens to arm themselves and harder for the police to maintain order. Once the mobs get fired up about the latest outrage du’ jour, things get out of control quickly as we’ve seen all across America lately.
In this regard, Minneapolis is far from unique. It was just the first one to reach the tipping point before the real meltdown began. Others, such as Seattle and Portland, are catching up quickly. So perhaps these cops and business owners are ahead of the curve in this. Get out while the getting is good and grab some suburban or rural land before everyone else gets the same idea and begins driving up the prices.