Burglary, theft are the most prominent crimes in student living areas

Almost 400 incidents of theft occurred on campus from January through July.

Andy Steinke

Chemical engineering first-year student Erica Woehl was in her neighbors’ room for five minutes Tuesday evening.

Woehl said she didn’t leave her door “completely closed or completely open” because she was just hanging out with some friends.

When she returned to her room, her laptop, power cord and some cash had been stolen from her Territorial Hall room.

The hall’s community adviser called University police and Woehl joined the statistics of on-campus burglary victims.

Burglary and theft are the two biggest plagues in the University community and four of its surrounding neighborhoods: Marcy-Holmes, Prospect Park, Southeast Como and Cedar-Riverside.

According to numbers collected by the Minneapolis and University police departments for 2007, thefts occurred most on campus from January through July, with almost 400 incidents.

In Marcy-Holmes, however, burglary was highest, with 171 incidents through the end of August, a 39 percent increase over the first eight months of 2006.

Minneapolis 2nd precinct crime prevention specialist Carol Oosterhuis said there is a simple reason why Marcy-Holmes attracts more crime than the other neighborhoods near campus.

“It’s a bigger population,” she said. “That’s why there is more crime there.”

Marcy-Holmes has a population of 9,009, while Prospect Park has 6,326 residents. Como only has 5,691 residents, she said.

Oosterhuis said another factor is the type of buildings in each community.

“The large buildings in Prospect Park are lockdown buildings with secure front entries,” Oosterhuis said. “Marcy-Holmes has a lot of single-family residences.”

That’s not to say crime doesn’t occur in the Prospect Park neighborhood.

Joe Ring, former president of the Prospect Park-East River Road Improvement Association, said most of the neighborhood’s crime is centralized.

“About 70 percent of the crime in our neighborhood takes place within a three-block radius of Melrose,” he said, referring to the student suites on Delaware Street Southeast.

Once four student-housing complexes were built in the area, PPERRIA set up quarterly meetings to discuss crime deterrence, Ring said.

He said the efforts have been successful, with nonviolent crime rates dropping since 2005.

Even though Prospect Park has seen an increase of about 2,500 residents since the four student-housing complexes were constructed, population density doesn’t necessarily guarantee more police patrol.

Oosterhuis said it has more to do with crime.

“We look at where crimes have happened and there is extra attention given to those areas,” she said.

Though burglary and theft rates are high in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood, motor vehicle thefts occurred more in Cedar-Riverside than in other neighborhoods.

In the first eight months of the year there were 72 motor vehicle thefts in Cedar-Riverside. The second greatest number was in Marcy-Holmes, at 51.

Southeast Como has seen a 41 percent increase in burglaries since August 2006, and an 18 percent increase in theft in that time.

The occurrence of robberies has dropped, however, with 10 fewer than last year’s 18 robberies through August.