MPD seeks University funding for safety initiatives

The Minneapolis Police Department submitted a Good Neighbor Fund proposal for funding for safety presentations and outreach around campus.

Imani Cruzen

The Minneapolis Police Department is gathering support for a proposal to use University of Minnesota funding to promote safety around campus.

Proposals for the Good Neighbor Fund, which was created by the University in 2007 and funds local community projects, were due Sunday. MPD’s 2nd Precinct submitted its proposal to fund safety walks, presentations and community outreach as part of a larger safety initiative for the area.

“From our end, we wanted to make sure we’re getting crime prevention information out to as many people as we can,” said MPD 2nd Precinct Crime Prevention Specialist Nick Juarez. “And from the neighborhood side, it’s about really building relationships with all members of the community.”

Supporters of the proposal include the Southeast Como Improvement Association, the University of Minnesota Police Department and the office of Off-Campus Living. SECIA and OCL have both provided a letter in support of the project.

“SECIA has a good working relationship with the MPD and UMPD,” said SECIA Executive Director Alex Farrell. “And they really are the experts when it comes to [the] time and place [of crime] and its potential hotspots … so we fully support their work in that.”

The proposal focuses on safety walks, which Juarez said would be held every week during the months of September, October and April. Juarez said the walks allow officers to provide residents with information on current crime trends and increase awareness of safety issues. MPD will also focus on door-to-door outreach to help inform residents. 

“Once we identify a hotspot based on crime patterns, we target that area to notify people, ‘Hey, we do have a crime trend going on,’” Juarez said. “And so we want to make sure that everybody’s aware of that, … they’re getting that information, and make sure they’re taking the steps then to reduce the opportunity for them to become a victim of a burglary.”

The proposal also includes plans for four public safety presentations. Juarez said potential topics include personal safety, sexual assault awareness and mental health.

“We think safety is a really big concern for our students. We want them to understand it and to be aware and involved,” said OCL Program Director Kendre Turonie. “And I think … organizing a safety walk program is a great opportunity for students, and so we wanted to be involved to try and help recruit students to participate, as well as community members.”

Neighborhood liaisons with OCL currently provide safety information to students and often work with the 2nd precinct, Turonie said. OCL, MPD, UMPD and SECIA also helped launch the Gopher Watch neighborhood watch group last fall.

“I think [this] is more about just letting, especially the newcomers, know that there are support systems around,” said SECIA President Karl Smith. “And we care about people who live in the neighborhood.”

University Director of Community and Local Relations Erick Garcia Luna said Good Neighbor Fund proposals will be reviewed in coming weeks.

Editor’s note: Kendre Turonie sits on the Minnesota Daily’s Board of Directors.