Regents talk campus safety

University officials are considering ways to reduce campus-area crime, including more lighting and increased surveillance.

Meghan Holden

University of Minnesota officials discussed the institution’s role in alleviating crime at a Board of Regents meeting Thursday.

After a semester of frequent University-issued crime alerts, regents and administrators addressed the perception of crime and its effect on the University.

“It’s really a bread and butter issue for us,” Vice President for University Services Pam Wheelock said at the meeting.

This fall, there were more than 20 reported robberies in the Southeast Minneapolis neighborhoods surrounding the University, and three reported campus robberies — only a slight increase from last fall’s 19 total reported robberies.

Still, University police Chief Greg Hestness said the increase in crime is an issue that police are working to alleviate.

“It was higher than average this fall,” he said, “and that’s concerning.”

He said the University is considering adding more lighting, surveillance and emergency call stations around campus.

University Services recently created three workgroups to analyze how the University can use technology to improve safety on or near campus.

The groups will consider lighting and landscape changes to improve visibility, as well as the possible addition of video surveillance in high-traffic areas on campus, according to the meeting docket.

They will also explore making some University buildings accessible to only the University community and requiring authentication to enter certain facilities.
Wheelock said students should be aware of their surroundings and avoid carrying expensive electronics with them at night.

“Just make smart choices,” she said.