Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Gangsters in Minnesota

In honor of Johnny Depp's upcoming movie about John Dillinger, the Strib published this article about the month that Dillinger spent in the Twin Cities in 1934.
Dillinger cut a brief but intense swath through St. Paul in early 1934, an era when St. Paul was the safest place in America for gangsters, thanks to the "O'Connor system." Police Chief John O'Connor had made a deal with crooks: They would receive police protection if they checked in upon arrival, paid a small bribe and promised to commit no crimes in St. Paul. . .The ironic upshot of the "system" was that St. Paul's citizens lived in a safe environment, despite occasionally recognizing the face at the next restaurant table from the post office walls.

One can tour gangster hotspots in St. Paul on Saturdays. Caves in the sandstone bluffs along the Mississippi were used by gangsters for storing alcohol and for clubs.


Scooter said...

Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow are my connection to gangsterism. Both their funerals were in Dallas and Bonnie was buried about a ten minute bike ride from my childhood home.

Stephanie said...

And a story in the STrib today about how the St. Paul police handle today's gangsters (less effectively and with less imagination than the O'Connor system): The city of St. Paul has filed two lawsuits against street gangs in an effort to limit their presence at the Rondo Festival and Parade later this month.


Anonymous said...

Krugman does Chief Brody.