35th & Nicollet gas station fights crime problem

The SuperAmerica at 3453 Nicollet Ave. is working to reduce crime that takes place on the lot, following 86 complains filed with police between August and Nov. 10.

The gas station has had problems with theft, loitering, drug dealing, panhandling, graffiti, litter and more.

SuperAmerica and the Lyndale Neighborhood Association (LNA) are trying to resolve the issues together. LNA Community Organizer Kristine Danzinger and 5th Precinct’s Crime-Prevention Specialist Tom Thompson said that SuperAmerica management has been cooperative.

Thompson said it’s tough to gauge whether or not crime has actually gone down on the property since it depends on neighbors’ observations.

However, he said that SuperAmerica has been very responsive and followed police suggestions. For example, the gas station installed a fence in back of the station where drug dealing and loitering often occurred.

Signage is also displayed more prominently, and one of the store’s entrances is blocked off in the evenings. Employees are also being trained to keep panhandlers moving off the property, Thompson said.

Lyndale Neighborhood Development Corp. Executive Coordinator Norma Pietz, who goes to SuperAmerica daily, said it seems like crime is down.

The last few times she’s been there, she said, when people begged for money, she immediately alerted a SuperAmerica employee, who effectively shooed the panhandler away.

Danzinger said the issues have occurred at this location for at least three years, but she wasn’t sure exactly how long. She reasoned troubles persisted because, “It’s an easy place for people to have an excuse to loiter.”

SuperAmerica Regional Manager Chris Renz didn’t respond to Southwest Journal calls by press time.