UMN campus crime update: Property crime on the upswing

Property crime has risen in the first three weeks of March after the departure of hordes of students due to COVID-19.

Morgan La Casse

Morgan La Casse

J.D. Duggan

As students scrambled to move back to their hometowns or hunker down in their near-campus housing during COVID-19 quarantine, most University of Minnesota-area neighborhoods saw a spike in property crimes.

Crime trends
After a couple months of mostly declining property crime, the first three weeks of March saw a renewed increase around the University compared to last year.

Despite this increase, Cody Hoerning, neighborhood liaison with Gopher Watch and a University graduate student, said off-campus neighborhoods have otherwise been quiet in recent weeks. 

“Auto thefts are still going on, but other crimes seem down. Probably due to less people in the area and stores being closed,” he said in an email.

Marcy-Holmes property crime from March 1 to March 21 more than doubled from 17 in 2019 to 42 this year. In Southeast Como, the number jumped from 10 to 21, and Cedar-Riverside saw 16 reported incidents in 2019 rise to 22 this year. Prospect Park’s number decreased slightly by two incidents, with 14 property crimes reported through the first three weeks of March this year.

Auto theft has accounted for much of the increase: Marcy-Holmes and Cedar-Riverside each saw six auto thefts, Prospect Park saw five and Southeast Como saw four. Last year, auto thefts were respectively two, four, one and zero in those neighborhoods.

A recent advisory from the Minneapolis Police Department recommended businesses and residents stay wary of burglaries during the governor’s stay-at-home order. Few incidents have been reported so far this month. 

Alternatively, larceny, or theft of personal property, has climbed in all campus neighborhoods besides Prospect Park compared to last year. The largest increase was in Marcy-Holmes, one of the city’s densest neighborhoods, where 11 incidents of larceny in 2019 grew to 27 this year.

Violent crime has remained low in March as the neighborhoods have quieted during the COVID-19 quarantine. Each neighborhood has reported three incidents, excluding Prospect Park, which saw one reported violent crime.

Notable crimes

An attempted robbery occurred around 5 p.m. Monday near 25th Avenue South and Riverside Avenue South near the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital, according to a SAFE-U campus alert. The suspects are two males who were said to be 14 to 18 years old and wearing a gray hoodie and a yellow hoodie.

On March 6 around 8 p.m., a sexual assault occurred in the 19th Avenue Parking Ramp on West Bank, according to a campus SAFE-U advisory. The suspect is a tall, skinny male with short hair.