As temperatures change, so does crime

UMPD prepares for bike thefts and alcohol citations as temperatures rise.

As temperatures change, so does crime

Alida Tieberg

As the snow melts and University of Minnesota students spend more time outside, criminals will do the same, police say.

The current crime rate is typical for the late winter, but as temperatures warm, authorities expect crimes like bike thefts and minor alcohol-related infractions to increase.

Rather than committing indoor crimes, like thefts from buildings, which are reported more often in the winter, criminals will move their activities outside, said University police Deputy Chief Chuck Miner.

To combat an expected increase in bike thefts, UMPD will use its bike bait program that it first implemented five years ago, Miner said.

In warmer months, officers also pay extra attention to alcohol-related crimes, like public consumption and open container violations.

University officials have sent two crime alerts for sexual assaults in Marcy-Holmes this semester. Authorities are still investigating the incidents, and the Minneapolis Police Department has extra officers patrolling the area, said a city crime prevention specialist Nick Juarez, who works in the second precinct that includes the University and surrounding areas.

The University and surrounding neighborhoods also saw a spike in vehicle thefts and break-ins last week, but UMPD Lt. Troy Buhta said criminals will get into cars regardless of the season, even if they have to smash a window to do it.

Sometimes, Juarez said, people leave items in their cars that criminals can see.

“We see that all the time just because the people in the neighborhood … just aren’t aware of their surroundings, so they leave their laptop or bag or purse in the front seat or on the floor,” he said.

Spring preparation

Authorities are also preparing for upcoming events at the University.

UMPD and Minneapolis police will have officers monitoring the one-day Spring Jam campus music festival, Miner said.

Juarez said officers will also patrol surrounding neighborhoods during the festival.

MPD and UMPD are also preparing for another possible riot after this year’s Frozen Four hockey tournament.

Last year, students rioted after the men’s hockey team lost to Union College in the NCAA final.

Juarez also said making sure there is adequate security staff in the new Dinkytown apartments is important.

As spring progresses, Juarez said Minneapolis police will send emails to student housing and property owners reminding landlords and managers to tell their tenants to keep screen doors locked, windows open only six inches and to stay aware of people looking into windows.