Gun incidents at U remain low despite recent violence

There have been five gun-related incidents on the University’s campus since 2001.

Matthew Gruchow

Though violence can never be completely eradicated from campus life, University students and University police have said the campus remains safe despite recent robberies and October’s shooting.

During the recent robberies of three female University students, the suspects implied they had a gun but did not show it to the women, according to the police report.

In a separate instance, a man brandished a pistol on another man near 825 Washington Ave. S.E., a police report said.

There have been five gun-related incidents on the University campus since 2001, according to police records. But that number is still low, given the University’s large student population, an area safety official said.

John Pack, director of safety and security at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, said the college reported no incidents of gun violence from 2001-05.

The University of Minnesota’s large student population makes it more likely to have gun-related issues, he said.

“Statistically, you’re going to have more incidents,” Pack said. “If you’ve had five incidents in five years, that’s still statistically pretty small.”

There have been no noticeable trends in violence on campus, said Chuck Miner, University of Minnesota police lieutenant.

“We haven’t seen any huge increases,” he said. “It’s just something that occasionally happens in an urban environment like this.”

Students should stay vigilant and take precautions to ensure their safety as crime on campus can never be completely eliminated, Miner said.

“Unless you construct walls around campus and put a guard at every entry, it’s extremely difficult in an urban environment to 100 percent prevent situations like this occurring,” Miner said.

The University of Minnesota Police Department will continue to share information with the Minneapolis Police Department about violence and crime prevention, he said

According to fall 2004 enrollment numbers, the University of Minnesota had 50,954 students.

Augsburg College reported fall 2004 enrollment at 3,375 students.

Other large campuses, such as the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee, which had a fall 2004 enrollment of 26,084 students, recorded no gun-related incidents on campus between 2001 and 2005, according to the school’s police records.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison, which recorded a fall 2004 enrollment of 41,169 students, reported no gun-related incidents on campus since 2001, according to its police records.

Another Big Ten university, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, reported nine gunñrelated incidents since 2001, said Krystal Fitzpatrick, the university’s assistant police chief. That university reported a fall 2004 enrollment of 40,360.

Not all of those occurrences were crimes but include a passenger attempting to board a plane with a firearm, a firearm recovered during a traffic stop and one gun given to police to destroy, according to University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign police records.

There was also one report of an individual claiming to be shot by a pellet gun, the reports said.

But the small number of occurrences does not surprise University of Minnesota global studies senior Emily Souza, she said. She said she does not feel the University of Minnesota is unsafe.

The campus’ proximity to downtown Minneapolis could contribute to some of the crime, she said.

Souza, a former University of Minnesota security monitor, said she urges students to use the service to help deter criminals.

“I still (walk with) the security monitors, because it’s the smart thing to do,” Souza said. “I think it works. I think it’s a great deterrent.”

First-year nursing student Kristina Patel said the University of Minnesota police should educate students about dangers on campus through more than just e-mail alerts.

“Most people are like me and they don’t read that,” Patel said.

Overall, the University of Minnesota remains a safe place, she said.

“I grew up in New York, so compared to that, I feel safe here,” she said.