• Downtown
  • High crime areas

    Downtown Saint Paul

    I don’t write much about crime. No one wants to talk about it and it is bad for business.  Last week I was the victim of a robbery. A robbery is a bit different than a theft or a burglary and the difference is important. A robbery is an in person crime where force is used with the intent to take something and it is a felony.

    A young man followed me into the lobby of a downtown building, started talking to me and when I turned around to answer him he grabbed my purse and ran.

    Ultimately I got my belongings back. A total stranger heard me yell as I ran after the robber and was able to intercept the robber causing him to drop my purse and run away.

    That was the third or maybe the fourth time I have had a purse and wallet stolen in St. Paul but the prior occasions were thefts or burglaries and even a “smash and grab” but not robberies in broad daylight during the lunch hour in downtown St. Paul.

    The police arrived more than an hour after I called 911 to “take my statement” and by that time any witness who may have been in the area was long gone. As has always been my experience with the Saint Paul PD these two were about as indifferent as two people could be.

    There isn’t anything they can do after a crime happens but I always figure if I call them and report it maybe somehow the information will help someone.  The officers did not know the downtown area well or maybe not at all which made it hard to explain what happened, where it happened and where the thief went.

    The young man who robbed me did not need to be afraid of being caught and will likely have a lucrative career grabbing purses and wallets downtown during business hours as long as he stays on the streets.

    The streets around the Union Depot in downtown St. Paul, are eerily quiet during the noon hour. Maybe people are in the skyways. I was walking from my car which was parked on Wacouta Street to 4th street. As someone who likes to walk I know that the safest areas are the places where there are lots of people or even just more than three of four people.

    If you go downtown and venture outside please be careful. Put your phone in your pocket and avoid carrying anything that can be taken away from you.

    To learn more about crime in St. Paul go to the Saint Paul Police web site develop an awareness of what types of crimes happen and where they occur.

  • St. Paul MN
  • The Inner City

    It is Friday and Fridays are for fun.  The pictures were taken on walks in the downtown area. The bricks are all well over a hundred years old the oldest are 150+ years old.

    They have been covered and painted and patched and uncovered again. If they could talk they could tell us what life was like when horses roamed the mean streets of St. Paul.

    I enjoy photographing bricks and anything that is rusty. The city offer plenty of photo opportunities.

    Brick Wall
    Brick Wall


  • Neighborhoods
  • Where are the vacant houses?

    St. Paul registered vacant buildings

    At one point, in September of 08 during the great recession and housing market crash,  there were 2031 registered vacant buildings in St. Paul. Most of those buildings were someone’s home.  Many were eventually torn down leaving large gaps between the houses on many an inner city block.  As of February 2017 there are 809 vacant registered buildings in St. Paul and that is still pretty high. I suppose a few more will disappear this year.

    Houses that were vacant but are now missing
    Houses that were vacant but are now missing

    Many people lost their homes during the crash. I hate the word lost because it seems more like they were stolen. The banks got financial help from the government while homeowners ended up out on the streets. There were also a bunch of new consumer protection laws enacted that will likely be repealed soon because they hurt the financial industry by making it harder for them to take our money and throw us out on the street.

    What is a registered vacant house? It is part of a City of St. Paul program.  Be warned that the link to the city web site probably won’t work a year from now as they city has a very popular program where they move the pages on their web site around every year so that the links break.

  • General
  • Keep the dream alive

    Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2016, Monday, Jan. 16,  honors the slain civil rights icon near what would have been his 88th birthday.

    I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

    – Martin Luther King, Jr 1963

    Let’s keep the dream alive and the hope that one day even a black man can drive a car with a burned out tail light and live to tell about it.

    The Twin Cities  are  home to some of the worst racial disparities in the country. In metrics across the board—household income, unemployment rates, poverty rates and education attainment—the gap between white people and people of color is significantly larger in Minnesota than it is most everywhere else. There is also a large gap in home ownership between people who are white and people of color. Homeowners have a significantly higher net worth than renters have.


    Dr. Martin Luther King Speaking at the University of Minnesota
    Dr. Martin Luther King Speaking at the University of Minnesota –

    Photograph from the Minnesota Historical Society collection

  • Local Market Conditions & home prices
  • Where the houses go

    Market watch

    The graph above is one of the first things I look at each morning. Today there is one more house on the market than there was yesterday but we are still at an all time low for the number of homes for sale and just when I think we have reached bottom we go down further. Right now there are fewer than 500 homes for sale the our fair city.

    In the last three days there have been 27 new listings but there have also been 27 homes that got offers that were accepted by the seller. (pending status) Ten listed homes were cancelled but 7 homes came back on the market.

    People like to wait until spring to put their homes on the market. The spring real estate market usually starts in January. Usually we see the highest home prices in April and May. Those numbers represent home sales that closed during those months and those homes were put on the market during the winter.