Recent shootings don’t point to an increase in crime, officials say

The University of Minnesota area has seen three reported shootings in September.

by Emma Dill

Despite a fatal shooting on West Bank during the first week of the school year and violent crime reports in Marcy-Holmes, campus crime rates this September don’t point to an upward trend. 

Both violent and property crimes in the 1st Precinct, which includes the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood, have steadily dropped over the past three years. While violent crimes in the 2nd Precinct, including Marcy-Holmes, Prospect Park and Como, dipped in 2017, they are slightly up this September with property crimes showing a decrease, according to data from the Minneapolis Police Department. 

The 1st Precinct saw 85 violent crimes in Sept. 2017 compared with 56 since the beginning of this month. The 2nd Precinct also saw 16 violent crimes last September and 36 this month.

“[Year-to-date] violent crime in [Southeast neighborhoods] has remained fairly consistent, meaning we have not experienced an increase or decrease in violent crime in the area. This level of consistency is positive when you consider the exponential growth of people in the area as students arrived for another school year,” MPD 2nd Precinct Inspector Todd Loining said in an email to the Minnesota Daily. 

“All crime categories that we track in the [2nd] Precinct are pretty level,” said MPD Public Information Officer Scott Seroka. “We haven’t seen a huge decrease or increase [in crime], anecdotally, that I’m aware of.”

While many violent crimes occur within the jurisdiction of the MPD, University of Minnesota Police Chief Matt Clark said UMPD officers communicate with MPD officials regularly to remain up-to-date on incidents near campus.

On Sept. 7, a man was shot and killed inside a car near the University’s West Bank. UMPD worked with MPD officers to determine that students were not involved in the incident, Clark said.

Other incidents include an assault, which took place on Sept. 12 when a male suspect shot at two females with a rifle in Dinkytown, and a reported shooting in Marcy-Holmes on Sept. 4.

Clark said these incidents appear to be isolated, and UMPD tries to identify crime patterns to improve the way they respond to crime on and off campus.

A crime trend, according to UMPD, consists of three to five incidents with the same suspect or weapon description, which means the past incidents don’t point to a larger pattern. 

University junior Emily Burich said recent incidents near the University have made her feel less safe around campus. 

“It’s kind of unnerving to hear about everything that’s been going on lately,” Burich said. 

Burich said reported crimes along 4th Street have made her weary to walk in the Dinkytown area. 

I have pepper spray on my key ring and I always have it … in my hand, in my pocket when I’m walking home at night,” Burich said.