Students question apartment security

Despite 24-hour-a-day security, bicycles have been stolen from the Melrose garage.

Elizabeth Cook

Just because students live on or close to the University campus doesn’t mean they are always safe.

Genetics senior Ronda Farah said she feels nervous walking to her apartment at University Commons Apartments and has a problem with the security there.

Students at both University Commons and Melrose Student Suites, two student-targeted apartment complexes near campus, have had varied experiences with safety in the area.

Farah said she has been living at University Commons for only a month and a half, but in that time there have been cars broken into in the parking lot, little or no security presence and the lights in the back parking lot have been out.

“We’re afraid to walk to our cars at night,” Farah said.

Meanwhile, Andrea Mallas, a pre-architecture sophomore and University Commons resident, said she’s never thought the parking lot was too dark.

Constance Slama, University Commons manager, said it was brought to her attention just Monday that the lights in the parking lot were out, and that they will be fixed by the end of this week.

Farah said there is supposed to be a security guard who lives in the apartment building, but she’s never seen him.

Slama said the security guard is there and he walks around numerous times throughout the night.

“He may not be seen, but he is definitely there,” Slama said.

Farah said she likes living in University Commons, but she’s concerned about students’ safety.

Genetics senior and Farah’s roommate Alissa Pelzer said she also feels unsafe living in University Commons.

But safety is a problem anywhere around campus, not just University Commons, Pelzer said.

Political science sophomore Sam Usem is a resident at Melrose, an apartment complex down the street from University Commons, and said he feels safe in his building.

Usem said there is someone at the front desk 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and at night there is always a security officer on duty.

“I feel totally safe here,” he said.

Usem said he is concerned about strangers following residents into the building.

With so many people coming in and out of the building, the front desk workers can’t memorize everyone’s face, he said.

Michael Wilde, director of student services and marketing at Melrose, said Melrose employs security guards to do rounds from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

There are also student-staff community ambassadors who are similar to community advisers in the residence halls, Wilde said.

To get into Melrose, a person needs a slide-card to get through the two lobby doors and the individual rooms, Wilde said.

Wilde said he is aware of theft from cars around the area, but none that he knew of were inside the Melrose parking garage.

But, Wilde said, a small number of bikes had been stolen from the garage.

When it comes to tailgating into the building, Wilde said that just like at any other building, it does happen.

However, since there is 24-hour staff and two doors to get through, there is a bigger chance of being confronted, Wilde said.

Lt. Ike Delugo with the 2nd Precinct in the Minneapolis Police Department said cars being broken into is a problem everywhere in Minneapolis.

“What’s happening (at University Commons) isn’t any different than what’s happening in all of the city,” Delugo said.

There’s staffing problems in the 2nd Precinct, Delugo said. Officers are busy answering 911 calls and can’t always patrol heavily.

Despite low-patrolling periods, some students still feel safe.

Civil engineering sophomore Jacques Duval said he has seen cars broken into, but he still feels safe living in University Commons.