Crave American Kitchen & Sushi Bar is a well-known, family-friendly establishment with several locations in the Twin Cities. Positioned in the middle of the theater district in Minneapolis, the downtown restaurant is a go-to spot for dinner and drinks before and after plays and concerts.
The restaurant’s solid reputation made it all the more shocking to learn that a shooting took place there last weekend. It’s another in a series of violent crimes that can make prospective downtown visitors question whether they’ll be safe.
According to Minneapolis Police Department reports, around the 2 a.m. closing time Saturday, police were called about gunfire at Crave’s rooftop bar. Two people were shot and taken to the hospital with noncritical injuries. Police were still looking for the shooter on Wednesday.
Now city officials want Crave’s owners to tighten security to better protect their staff and patrons. The Minneapolis licensing division sent a letter to Crave owner Keyvan Talebi that said the business failed to provide appropriate security to prevent criminal activity. It’s standard for the city to send such a letter to a business when certain crimes take place on its premises.
And yet some may wonder if police and city officials are trying to shift the blame for violence. After all, it is not the fault of Crave’s owners that someone decided to open fire and send customers scrambling for the exit.
The reality is that the operators of most Minneapolis businesses, especially those that serve alcohol and stay open past 10 p.m., know they must have security plans and that those plans may need periodic tweaking and updating. A condition of getting a license to serve alcohol and have late-night/early-morning hours in Minneapolis is to have “adequate security.”
While the specifics of what’s adequate can vary depending on the type of business, the city ordinance requires that security measures be designed to “prevent criminal activity, loitering, lurking and disorderly conduct on the business premises, including parking areas.” The letter asks Crave owners to develop an updated security plan that would prevent weapons from being brought into the restaurant and bar. It also suggests additional staff training to help employees work with police and access video surveillance in cases of emergency.
“In general our establishments downtown are doing a really good job,” said Linda Roberts, interim manager of business licensing for Minneapolis. She told an editorial writer that “every business should have some level of security” and that most appreciate guidance from the city on safety and security practices.
The MPD and city guidelines allow officials to close uncooperative establishments where frequent criminal activity occurs. Last year, downtown’s Aqua Nightclub and Lounge closed after a triple shooting and multiple conflicts with the city over security.
In today’s gun-invested culture, it takes excellent work by city officials and police — in collaboration with businesses that are open to the public — to keep citizens safe.