Educate students about West Bank

The West Bank and Cedar Riverside neighborhood have been thrust into the spotlight over and over again in the past few years, mostly when crime or tragedy strike. The University could take a page from âÄúGently into the reach of the nightâÄù âÄî a three part series by the Minnesota Daily reporters Karlee Weinmann and Jon Collins âÄî and try to better inform its students about living in the area. ItâÄôs true: crime is worse in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood than in other neighborhoods on campus. According to a third-quarter Minneapolis Police Department report, 106 crimes ranging from homicide to arson have been reported in Cedar-Riverside, compared to the 34 (mostly larceny) complaints in the University of Minnesota area. Cedar-Riverside is home to the nearest restaurants and convenience shops for students living in Middlebrook Hall âÄî but the University does little to inform those students about the realities of their neighborhood. Despite all the money being pumped into programs like Welcome Week âÄîdesigned to help students transition better to the University community âÄî first-year students report being told, in passing, general campus safety suggestions, but not specific information tailored to the residence hall they were living in. The University can do a much better job with this. In the past two years alone, University police have reduced its third quarter crimes reported from 160 to just 34. This is great for students living in Stadium Village and the Superblock area. And Minneapolis police have made improvements in the Cedar-Riverside area, with reported crimes dropping from 198 to 106 in the same time period. But most students living in Middlebrook Hall are new to the city and are young. The University should take advantage of the time theyâÄôve set aside for orienting new students to the campus and focus some of their effort on educating students about the neighborhoods they live in. We all have the right to feel safe in our own homes, and the University can do more to help facilitate that on the West Bank.