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Minneapolis Businesses Robbed As Security Shutter Ban Stays in Place

Democratic city government forbids window shutters

Business destroyed by Minneapolis protests, May 28, 2020 / Getty Images

A Minneapolis city ordinance forbids the use of security shutters for business windows, rendering businesses vulnerable to millions of dollars in theft and damages during citywide riots, the Star Tribune reported Monday.

One such example comes from liquor store owner John Wolf. Chicago-Lake Liquors, Wolf’s store, suffered $1 million in damages and stolen liquor after rioters looted his store.

"Times have changed," Wolf said. "I am going to spend millions of dollars to bring my business back, and I don't want to buy 20 window panes and have them broken the first day. Property owners should have options on how to protect themselves."

Forbidding security shutters has been a policy of the city since 2004. As violence erupts throughout the city—over 1,500 businesses have been damaged—business owners are rethinking placing trust in the government to protect their property.

Car repair shop owner Mark Brandow expressed such concerns after being initially rejected for his application to acquire protective structures for his storefront. "I have never felt so vulnerable," said Brandow, whose shop is two blocks from another car repair business that was destroyed in the May riots.

Minneapolis is among a few cities that regulate security shutters and other protective storefront structures. Most cities nationwide—including New York City—permit their usage and leave restrictions up to landlords.

As long as such structures remain illegal, business owners must look toward expensive alternatives to protect their property. One liquor store owner spent thousands equipping a metal gate system on his storefront, which Wolf found ineffective upon inspecting it. 

"How long would it take to get through there? Two minutes?" Wolf asked the general manager of the store as he inspected the security system.