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A local chef and restauranteur traveled to Washington, D.C. this week to testify before members of Congress about crime in the Twin Cities. 

Brian Ingram, owner of the Hope Breakfast Bar and Gnome Craft Pub in St. Paul, spoke Tuesday before a congressional subcommittee during a hearing focused the impacts of gun violence. 

Purpose Driven Restaurants, the company Ingram and his wife founded in 2019, operated free community kitchens and food banks to give back during the pandemic and the unrest following the murder of George Floyd. 

Ingram told lawmakers crime began to escalate once businesses reopened after the pandemic closures. 

"We saw it over and over," he said, describing times where his restaurants windows were shot out by gunfire, his employees were attacked and customers were carjacked. 

"Crime has now become a daily part of life," Ingram said. "All seven of my restaurants and office have been robbed numerous times, on many occasions by the same criminal." 

Ingram said crime has caused late-night restaurant traffic to drop off by 50%, pushed closing times and has led business owners, such as himself, to look at new locations outside of the Twin Cities. 

"Our hope is that all of you will come together and figure out how we stop crime in our cities before our cities are gone," he said. 

In Minneapolis, crime statistics show robberies, shots fired, gunshot wounds and motor vehicle thefts are all up compared to the three-year average, while burglaries are trending downward. 

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