Campus crime update: Spring crime trends in UMN neighborhoods over the past 5 years

Property crime is up in Minneapolis and in SE Como and Marcy-Holmes as the city is on COVID-19 lockdown.

The First Congregational Church is nestled between single family residences in the Marcy Holmes neighborhood on Tuesday, Jan. 28.  The neighborhood provides housing for a significant number of University students.

Kamaan Richards

The First Congregational Church is nestled between single family residences in the Marcy Holmes neighborhood on Tuesday, Jan. 28. The neighborhood provides housing for a significant number of University students.

J.D. Duggan

Spring semester this year has largely seen a rise in property crime around the University of Minnesota neighborhoods, matching a citywide trend.

The Minnesota Daily collected and analyzed crime data around the University of Minnesota spanning Jan. 20 to April 30 going back to 2016. The spring semester of 2020 has been disrupted by stay-at-home orders and the closure of campus due to COVID-19.

Violent crime has increased by 67% and 64% this year compared to 2016 in Marcy-Holmes and Southeast Como, respectively. Cedar-Riverside and Prospect Park have both seen a 15% and 40% decrease respectively.

By comparison, violent crime throughout the city increased by 8% compared to the same timeframe in 2016. The city saw the most violent crime in 2017.

Property crime in Minneapolis this year is higher than it has been in five years, an increase of 22% since 2016.

Cody Hoerning, safety chair for Southeast Como Improvement Association, said the University area’s high vacancy rate means fewer eyes on the street, so the general increase of property crime does not surprise him.

He considered that there could be multiple factors at play, including the closure of the University, the decrease in population around campus and rising unemployment rates.

“It’s so hard to — just given the random nature of crime to the date — it’s hard to draw a conclusion as to what’s a trend or what causes might be a correlation,” Hoerning said. 

Southeast Como

Southeast Como is the only University-area neighborhood where, during spring semester 2020, both violent crimes and property crimes had peaked in the past five years. 

Violent crime doubled since last year, up to 18 incidents. Property crime leaped to 99 incidents this year from 73 incidents last year. 

“I think Como is more residential. And … houses left dark and empty are more appealing,” Hoerning said. 

This may contrast with other areas that have more apartment buildings with on-site staff and locked doors, he said.

Southeast Como also saw its first reported homicide in five years. An intoxicated woman stabbed her boyfriend in February following a dispute at the 900 block of 15th Avenue Southeast.

Domestic aggravated assaults are higher than they have been in the last five years at five incidents in Southeast Como, compared to three incidents combined in both 2016 and 2017. During spring semester, domestic aggravated assaults citywide are not higher this year than in the last five years.

Thefts from motor vehicles, however, are higher than in years past, matching a citywide trend. This year saw 28 incidents in Southeast Como, with the next highest year being 18 incidents in 2019.

Marcy-Holmes

Violent and property crimes in Marcy-Holmes have increased by 67% and 40% since 2016, nearly matching what the area saw in 2018.

This year, the neighborhood saw two more property crimes in the spring semester compared to 2018, reaching 200 incidents. Comparing 2018 to this year, violent crime went down to 25 incidents from 26 prior ones. 

Last month, the suspected serial rapist terrorizing the area was arrested by the Minneapolis Police Department.

Marcy-Holmes had the highest number of auto thefts and larceny — or theft of personal property — incidents this year out of the last five years. Auto theft has climbed to 27 incidents this year after two years of 20 incidents each. There were 110 reported incidents of larceny, with 2018 seeing the next highest at 104. 

Cedar-Riverside

Crime in Cedar-Riverside this year is similar to that of 2016 — following a spike in 2017. 

But property crime has risen significantly this year and last year compared to the prior three years. 

Thefts from motor vehicles have occurred at much higher rates in the last two years, with 28 incidents this year and 40 last year. Before that in the five-year span, the highest amount was 18 in 2016.