As summer begins, burglaries rise on UMN campus

UMPD also continues to contend with homelessness on campus as temperatures rise.

A Minneapolis Police officer patrols Dinkytown on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018.

Jack Rodgers

A Minneapolis Police officer patrols Dinkytown on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018.

Mohamed Ibrahim

Burglaries on campus and in surrounding neighborhoods have risen slightly since the start of the summer, according to local crime data. Officials also responded to an assault and other crimes near campus.

University of Minnesota Police Department officers responded to a reported assault at the Graduate Hotel on the University’s East Bank campus May 25. A man was arrested for fifth degree assault, with the victim sustaining minor injuries in the altercation. Officers also responded to a disturbance at the hotel May 30. It ended in one arrest and a woman being transported to the Hennepin County Medical Center by paramedics.

Since classes ended May 6, property crime rates in the neighborhoods surrounding the University have remained steady, with the exception of Cedar-Riverside. According to Minneapolis Police Department crime statistics, reported property crimes — burglaries, larcenies and auto thefts — in the neighborhood jumped from 25 in April to 41 in May, an increase of 64 percent. Home burglaries in the Southeast Como neighborhood rose by 30 percent in April and May compared to the neighborhood’s three-year average, according to a neighborhood newsletter.

On campus, property crimes typically occur less in student residential and housing areas and more in academic buildings, said University of Minnesota Police Chief Matt Clark. On May 30, UMPD officers responded to a report of burglary and damage to property in Heller Hall that had occurred overnight. There have been eight reported thefts on campus since the beginning of June, according to UMPD’s daily crime log.

While UMPD continues to contend with on-campus theft, addressing homelessness on campus remains a pressing issue, Clark said. Due to the warmer weather, people are setting up outdoor encampments on campus property rather than trespassing in University buildings, he said.

“Eventually we have come into the situation and [have] to issue trespass notices and also take care of all the stuff that they [leave] at that location because we can’t allow it,” Clark said. “But we try to give them as much accommodation as possible and a heads up before we take any action.”

The Navigation Center temporary shelter near the West Bank campus closed June 3, which may cause a dispersal of individuals outward into the surrounding areas. But UMPD does not expect an increase in the homeless population on campus, as it continues to work with Minneapolis nonprofit St. Stephen’s Human Services’s Outreach to approach displaced individuals on campus and attempt to assist them, Clark said.

“We’d rather work with those individuals and find solutions than let this problem go on,” he said. “The key is early involvement to take care of the problem.”