Drug and alcohol offenses on decline

Also, a Marcy-Holmes woman walked in on a toast burglar.

Nickalas Tabbert

Crime rates at the University of Minnesota continue to fall, in part because of decreased alcohol and drug offenses, according to a University of Minnesota Police Department report.

Total crime rates are down by nearly 25 percent this year, the report said, with thefts and assaults among the categories that have seen lower numbers.

But the largest decreases have come from alcohol and drug offenses, where numbers have been reduced by half.

As of the end of July, there were 59 reported alcohol offenses, compared to 141 at this time last year. There were 17 drug offenses, compared to 36 at this time last year.

Deputy Chief Chuck Miner said grant funds have helped reduce alcohol offenses.

The department received $100,000 when TCF Bank Stadium was built due to the belief the stadium would bring more partying to the neighborhoods surrounding campus, Miner said.

The grant has since dried up, but Miner said extra officers and department funds will be used this fall.

Overall, rates have decreased for the last several years, Miner said.

Last fall, the department introduced the bait-bike program, which has helped reduce bike thefts on campus.

Light-rail construction could also be affecting crime, Miner said, because getting to and from campus has become increasingly difficult.

University police currently has 47 officers, Miner said. Three new officers are expected to start in early September.

Intruder borrows toaster

A Marcy-Holmes resident found an unknown man attempting to make toast in her kitchen early Sunday morning, police said.

The woman, who lives near the 400 block of Fourth Street Southeast, said she was about to start a load of laundry at her home around 1:30 a.m. when she discovered the man with a jar of chili peppers and the toaster on.

She said she yelled at him, and he took a few steps toward her before fleeing out the side door. He had entered through the kitchen window, the woman said, because the screen was missing and items on the counter were displaced.

Nothing was missing, she said, but she wasn’t sure what he would have done after finishing with the toaster. She found a backpack outside the house containing bolt cutters, a Call of Duty videogame and a Marines promotional video. She said police told her he may have stolen the bag before coming to her house.

The woman said the man smelled of alcohol but couldn’t tell if he was drunk. She described the man to be between 30 and 35 years old, according to the police report.

This isn’t the first time someone has broken in, she said. In the four years she has lived at the house, there have been two other break-ins. The man probably expected her and her husband to be students, like many other residents in the neighborhood, she said.