Response to ‘Neighbors point fingers’

by Jan Morlock

I take issue with your editorial on Oct. 21, âÄúNeighbors point fingers.âÄù Your editorial correctly pointed out that violent crimes are down significantly since last year, and that the data does not suggest that crime in the campus area is worse on home football game weekends. Having said that, the âÄújump in nuisance crimesâÄù that you describe should be of significant concern to The Minnesota Daily and to everyone who cares about students and the University of Minnesota. The campus neighbors that were interviewed for the Daily article value the University and the assets it brings to the community. They are invested in this community and want to ensure that it remains a good place to live âÄî itâÄôs a good thing they care. Persistent nuisance crimes and acts of public incivility do great damage to the campus and campus-area communities. Nobody wants to live where they donâÄôt feel safe and are awakened by violence or abusive behavior in the middle of the night. Persistent nuisance crimes lead to a cycle of disinvestment and physical decline âÄî people stop caring for their property and the well-being of their neighbors. That compromises the safety of all of us. This is not the future we want for the environment of the University of Minnesota. People of all ages and backgrounds live in campus neighborhoods, including many students, alumni and University employees, as well as other people who enjoy the magnificent amenities of this part of the city. Living near the University of Minnesota should not require compromising your standards for a safe and civil community. We agree that âÄúthere must be mutual respect and understanding between students and neighbors.âÄù But saying it doesnâÄôt make it so. ItâÄôs created by thousands of individual acts of respect, civility and connecting with our neighbors: by realizing that other students are our neighbors and that they too deserve our respect. It also requires holding each other accountable, including when necessary, through vigorous enforcement of the law. Many students are making their neighborhood a better place to live, sometimes just by taking the small step of getting to know their neighbors or by remembering that there are people living on their block who are very much like their own family members. These students, and their neighbors who enjoy being in the community with them, are building the âÄúmutual respect and understandingâÄù that you call for in your editorial. LetâÄôs get behind that. We all have a vital interest in having a safe place to live and learn. Jan Morlock University of Minnesota Director of Community Relations