Enhanced police coverage leads to more alcohol-related citations

The U funded an almost-$100,000 program to bolster weekend police patrols.

by Kyle Sando

Alcohol-related offenses increased by 48 percent over 2008 numbers, according to the year-end crime statistics released by University of Minnesota police. The increase is due to enhanced police coverage designed to mitigate any party-related problems TCF Bank Stadium might produce, University police Deputy Chief Chuck Miner said. The increase in enforcement was possible because the University funded an almost-$100,000 program designed to put more officers on patrol for Friday and Saturday nights, Miner said. He said the number of additional officers ranged from eight to 12 on those nights. The enforcement resulted in an increase in citations, but Miner said the stadium did not have a major impact on off-campus parties. Students are aware of the increased enforcement surrounding the games and often plan around it, said James De Sota, neighborhood coordinator for the Southeast Como Improvement Association. âÄúThey realize that on actual game days thereâÄôs quite a bit more police presence,âÄù De Sota said. âÄúOne of the things that weâÄôve always found in the research weâÄôve done in other campuses and other campus communities is that it all comes down to setting the bar for what youâÄôll tolerate,âÄù De Sota said. âÄúAnd setting that bar early on in the semester makes a big difference.âÄù De Sota said he would like to see the program continue, because showing students that the neighborhood wonâÄôt tolerate outrageous behavior early on is an important step to making sure this kind of behavior doesnâÄôt gain momentum. De Sota said he was unsure whether the amount of actual drinking by students had changed. âÄúUnfortunately, we work with what we have,âÄù he said. âÄúWeâÄôre definitely pleased that UMPD is taking this seriously.âÄù Overall, University police saw a 10 percent increase in crime, according to the report. This was due in part to an increase in enforcement of alcohol-related offenses. Cases of theft rose about 5 percent, which Miner said could be attributed to the cyclical behavior of criminals that is usually seen year after year. Miner said that over the long term, thefts have decreased dramatically since 1995, which had 1,263 cases. The report also showed a decrease of 37 percent in serious crime against another person on campus over 2008 numbers.