U cops try to block brawls

After noticing a spike in crime during other busy weekends, more police patrolled campus.

Minneapolis police officers look on as students enter the Riff Raff concert put on by Sigma Chi fraternity on Friday night. The event was staffed by 8 off-duty police officers, security guards, and members of the fraternity, in an effort to keep the event safe and crime free.

Maddy Fox

Minneapolis police officers look on as students enter the Riff Raff concert put on by Sigma Chi fraternity on Friday night. The event was staffed by 8 off-duty police officers, security guards, and members of the fraternity, in an effort to keep the event safe and crime free.

Hannah Weikel

With the campus area crawling with more super villains, monsters and kooks than usual, the University of Minnesota Police Department beefed up its patrol over Halloween weekend, taking a cue from reports of public fights during homecoming.
 
University Police Chief Matt Clark said more officers were necessary to amplify police presence this weekend in the neighborhoods surrounding the University. The increase was spurred by the department’s efforts to avoid a repeat of a problematic spike in reports of fights near the school over homecoming last month.
 
Holidays and large weekend events like homecoming and Sigma Chi fraternity’s Derby Days concert bring masses of people to the Dinkytown and Marcy-Holmes area, he said. 
 
Computer science sophomore and Sigma Chi member Pat Sinha said the fraternity hired eight off-duty police officers for the Derby Days concert Fridayto prevent 
disruptions. 
 
Minneapolis police received 15 calls over homecoming weekend reporting fights in the Dinkytown area this year, according to police reports.
 
“This has been a problem for years,” said Inspector Kathy Waite of the Minneapolis Police Department. “When drinking, they do things they normally don’t do.”
Waite and Clark both said there has not been a noticeable increase in crime in the area over the last few years.
 
But the number of fights reported over homecoming weekend, which ran from Sept. 25 to Sept. 27, was more than usual, Clark said. 
 
Twelve people reported unknown people at house parties homecoming weekend, Clark said at a Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association meeting on Oct. 20.
 
Clark said it was difficult to determine how many of the people involved in the fights were University students.
 
“People scattered that night,” Waite said. “Some were University students, some weren’t.”
 
Economics graduate student and MHNA board member Jonathan Borowsky said groups of people from outside the University community come to the area for the opportunities holidays and events present.
 
“Big parties draw attention,” Waite said. “Those who are looking can find them easily.”
 
Borowsky said he believes large house parties attract gatecrashers, which leads to parties getting out of hand when the homeowners no longer know the majority of the people there.
 
“Before you know it, friends of friends know about the party and it gets out of control,” Waite said.
 
According to a police report, the president of Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity, Grant Bischof, called the police to report a possible person with a gun over homecoming weekend.
 
University communications sophomore and DKE member Mark Anderson said he was at the party that night and heard about the commotion outside.
 
“There were probably six to eight people in the group trying to get in,” Anderson said. “Right after, they went next door and started a fight in the lawn.”
 
When police arrived, some of the suspects ran, and police didn’t find a gun, the report said.
 
Sigma Chi member Pat Sinha said the fraternity uses guest lists for all of their parties, and anyone whose name isn’t on it is not allowed in.
 
DKE had a list at their homecoming party Anderson said, but the party was so big there were people pushing in through the door.
 
Waite said the police advise people planning to have a party to use a guest list and stick to it. 
 
“If you have people at your door who are belligerent and trying to force their way in,” she said, “call the police immediately.”