Area crime reportedly up

Since the start of the semester, crime has been on the rise in the Southeast Como, Marcy-Holmes and Prospect Park neighborhoods, area residents and officials said.

More people and businesses are getting robbed and more cars are being broken into.

Nicole Nelson, crime prevention specialist for the 2nd Precinct, said she recommends that people walk on well-lit and busy streets.

If approached by a thief, people should give them whatever they are asking for.

“We recommend that people don’t resist,” she said.

It’s also important for people to report crimes, even if they feel they are insignificant, Nelson said.

When people report crimes, police are able to direct more patrols to those areas, which helps deter future crimes, she said.

James DeSota, a Southeast Como Improvement Association staff member, said the most significant problem is that criminals are now using weapons.

No one has been stabbed or shot, but to many people, it seems to be only a matter of time, DeSota said.

Long-term residents have been warning new students about neighborhood crime and advising them not to go out at night by themselves, DeSota said.

DeSota said most of the crimes are being committed against people who have been drinking, because they make easy targets.

Greg Hestness, University Police chief, said these areas are patrolled by the Minneapolis Police Department 2nd Precinct, but the University Police Department also responds to calls in the area.

University police coordinate with the 2nd Precinct because of low staffing.

“We are feeling the impact in the decline of staffing from the Minneapolis Police Department,” Hestness said.

Hestness estimated that the University responds to 200-300 calls each month in those areas.

Minneapolis City Council member Paul Zerby, Ward 2, who represents the Minneapolis campus and surrounding areas, said it’s clear crime is up in the 2nd Precinct.

There’s even been an increase in the past year, he said.

Zerby said the number of officers in the 2nd Precinct is a problem. Due to cuts in local government aid, that precinct has been down by about seven officers.

City officials have already started the process of hiring 71 new officers and seven are expected to fill the gap at the 2nd Precinct. The city will also add a new beat officer to patrol Dinkytown.

Zerby spoke about the lack of low-level lighting along 15th Avenue Southeast as one problem the area faces.

The city is planning to turn them back on, which should help out a little bit, he said.

Zerby said neighbors have raised concerns about all the partying in the area.

These parties put a strain on the police department in ways that could be avoided, Zerby said. If police didn’t have to put their attention and energy into parties, they could put that attention to real crimes.

Twenty-eight-year resident Connie Sullivan said part of the problem is that stable residents are pushed out of the neighborhoods because of students’ unruly behavior.

She said residents are unable to sleep because of noise on Friday, Saturday and sometimes Thursday nights.

Residents also have to deal with vomit on their sidewalks and lawns. Some residents are planning to collect the vomit in boxes and give it to the mayor, she said.

The police and the city don’t seem to think it’s a real problem, Sullivan said.

A box full of vomit, she said, will show the mayor what residents have to deal with.

As the longtime residents leave, she said, the area is going to be left with only students, who are attracting crime.

According to the Community Crime Prevention unit of the 2nd Precinct, since Sept. 1, there have been more than 30 car break-ins.

Most of these thefts occur at night in cars that are parked on the street, in parking lots and in ramps.

In most of these cases, the car window is smashed and items are stolen.

Jeff Treadwell, a non-degree-seeking student, said that while he did have his car broken into in the Stadium Village area three years ago, he wasn’t nervous about living in the area.

“I haven’t noticed (an increase in) crime,” he said.