Numerous car break-ins afflict Southeast Como

by Jerret Raffety

After multiple vehicle break-ins near campus in October, some Southeast Como residents said they are wary for their automobiles’ safety.

According to the city of Minneapolis Web site, 13 motor vehicles were burglarized between Oct. 12 and 17 in southeast Minneapolis.

Between Oct. 11 and 20, police responded to six reports of vehicle damage in the Elmwood Properties parking lot at 1100 Como Ave. S.E.

Of those cars, journalism senior Melanie Bloom’s was broken into twice during that time frame.

Bloom noticed the first break-in at 8:15 a.m. Oct. 11 on her way to work. She found her passenger-side window broken, but her book of compact discs and CD player were not touched, she said. Nothing was stolen out of her car, she said.

The only thing unusual inside the car was that the contents of her glove compartment were scattered around, Bloom said.

A police report said another car was also reported damaged at the same lot and time.

Bloom’s driver’s side window was broken again Oct. 19, she said.

Several other cars parked on the street near Elmwood Properties were damaged during the time frame, said journalism senior Marissa Krzmarzick.

Out of the six break-ins, only one Nokia cellular phone was missing, according to police reports.

Elmwood Properties officials declined comment on the parking lot security.

No suspects are in custody in connection with the break-ins, said Ron Reier, Minneapolis police spokesman.

He said it’s difficult to apprehend suspects when there is no suspect information from owners or witnesses.

The Minneapolis Police Department does not have the resources to send a crime lab out to investigate misdemeanor thefts when the total losses are minimal, Reier said.

Police have adopted preventive strategies to address neighborhood crime issues, said Nicole Nelson, a specialist in the crime prevention unit of the Minneapolis Police Department.

These include online crime reports, and e-mails to local businesses or residents about crime patterns. Another initiative is organizing block clubs and neighborhood watch groups to address these trends, Nelson said.

Since the apartment hired a private security firm recently, Bloom said, the vehicle break-ins seem to have tapered off. Apartment owners are going to install surveillance cameras, Bloom said.

It still might not prevent future break-ins and causes her to be concerned, she said.

“Every morning, I walk into my parking lot and tense up. I can’t afford to buy a new window every week,” she said.

Krzmarzick said she also feels insecure and, consequently, won’t leave anything valuable in her car. She also said she tries to park closer to apartment windows and under good lighting.

Still, Bloom said, she won’t let the vandalism intimidate her.

“I still like my apartment, so I won’t move,” she said.