Police: lock up to avoid house burglaries

According to University police, students are leaving the door open for campus theft.

Police: lock up to avoid house burglaries

Jake Stark

Burglaries of homes surrounding the University of Minnesota are happening less frequently than a decade ago, but police still worry that residents are not properly securing their homes.

According to Minneapolis and University reports, the number of burglaries occurring on campus has declined from 35 offenses in 2011 to 24 offenses in 2012. Numbers in Marcy-Holmes and Southeast Como neighborhoods have also declined.

However, most of the burglaries that do occur are a result of residents failing to lock their doors and windows, said Nick Juarez, a crime prevention specialist for the Minneapolis Police Department’s second precinct.

In spite of efforts made by the Minneapolis and University police to raise awareness about properly locking up doors and windows, students and other residents around campus “choose not to listen,” he said.

Juarez said he comes across unlocked doors and windows every time he goes door-knocking in the area to raise awareness about neighborhood safety.

“It’s no different than in the past,” Juarez said. “New people move into the city and aren’t aware of the danger.”

Juarez added that people with multiple roommates are victims of burglaries most often because they rely too much on their roommates to lock up for them.

One recent burglary near campus occurred Friday near Fourth Avenue Southeast. The victim, Jake Winer, a business administration junior at Minneapolis Community and Technical College, returned home to find that his laptop and credit card had been stolen, among other things.

A Minneapolis police report said Winer left the back door unlocked before he left.

Winer said he was just forgetful and thought one of his roommates would have locked up if he had not. He also said he would never have thought his neighborhood would be a dangerous place to leave his door unlocked, though he had not done so in the past.

University police Deputy Chief Chuck Miner said the same problem exists in on-campus housing.

He said most of the burglaries University police respond to occur in residence halls and are often the result of an unlocked door.

“You get people that go down to the shower or whatever, and they just forget or don’t think to lock the door,” Miner said.

Both Miner and Juarez said they don’t think students and residents have contributed much to the decline in burglaries on campus.

Juarez said Minneapolis police made several “good arrests” this year, catching burglars who had committed multiple crimes in the neighborhoods surrounding campus.

However, he said the best way to continue the decline is for residents to take more responsibility for securing their homes.

“Remaining informed is the best way to prevent crime,” Juarez said.

Miner said more “active” prevention has led to the decline in burglaries in residence halls. He pointed out increased enforcement, card access to residence halls and more security cameras on campus as reasons for the decline.

He also added that the additional construction around campus may also be an obstacle making it more difficult for burglars to reach campus.

“Not even the bad guys can figure out how to get to campus,” Miner said.