Burglaries continue to sting near U campus

Minneapolis police said the cause of the surge is unclear. Weather could be a factor.

Burglaries continue to sting near U campus

Megan Nicolai

Nine burglaries have been reported at houses in Marcy Holmes and Southeast Como neighborhoods in the last week, bringing the total of house break-ins in July to 44 âÄî the most burglaries in one month since April 2007, when 45 burglaries were reported at homes and businesses combined.

In July 2010 there were 37 burglaries in the two neighborhoods, including businesses.

The cause of the surge is still unclear, said Minneapolis police Sgt. Steve McCarty. The warm weather may be a factor âÄî burglars can use windows left open for cool air to enter homes, McCarty said. Police are exploring whether a specific group may be responsible for some of the break-ins. Officers will examine whether similarities, like the time of the crimes or methods used to enter the houses, exist among the incidents.

âÄúThatâÄôs something our people would look at and try to determine if the patterns are the same,âÄù McCarty said.

Five burglaries occurred in Marcy Holmes and one was reported in Southeast Como over the weekend.

Michael Heifner, a Marcy-Holmes resident and political science senior at the University of Minnesota, discovered Saturday night that a burglar stole more than $2,500 in electronics and other items from his apartment. He said that though the door was locked, he and his roommate guessed that the burglar used a credit card to slip the lock on his door.

âÄúIt sucks to lose that much property,âÄù Heifner said. âÄúItâÄôs kind of a violation of your privacy and safety.âÄù

Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, at 1821 University Ave., also reported a burglary early Friday morning.

Burglars may target certain residences because they house many people at a time, McCarty said, adding student residences are common targets.

House burglaries are often committed by people who have already visited the house and are familiar with its surroundings, McCarty said.

âÄúThereâÄôs more people coming and going into the house,âÄù McCarty said. âÄúA lot of residents canâÄôt keep track of everyone if they live in these situations.âÄù

But Heifner believes a stranger broke into his apartment âÄî perhaps the same stranger who sliced open the window screen and burglarized his upstairs neighbors two months ago. Though he isnâÄôt worried about his physical safety, Heifner said the incident has changed how he thinks about leaving his possessions at home.

âÄúIâÄôm definitely much more worried about my property,âÄù he said.

McCarty stressed the need to report any suspicious persons or activity to police immediately, to stop these kinds of incidents. âÄúWe canâÄôt do it all without the help of the general population,âÄù he said.