Noise reports plummet as U, city form a partnership

Noise complaints are down to single digits this year after 100-plus calls in 2009.

Sarah Nienaber

ItâÄôs a quiet day in the neighborhood, thanks to a partnership between the University of Minnesota, the city of Minneapolis and community stakeholders.
Violations from noisy and unruly assemblies dropped immensely from 2009 to the present. Southeast ComoâÄôs violations dropped from 148 in 2009 to just three through the first week of March.
In Marcy Holmes, complaints dropped from 95 in 2009 to 50 in 2010 to four so far this year.
Since 2008 the University has partnered with the city of Minneapolis to make neighborhoods safer and quieter.
Efforts to lower noise complaints include a campaign throughout the Marcy Holmes, Prospect Park and Southeast Como neighborhoods.
Success hasnâÄôt come from a zero- tolerance policy regarding unruly gatherings, said Paul Buchanan of the UniversityâÄôs Student Neighborhood Liaisons, but rather by asking students to party smart instead of asking that they donâÄôt party at all.
The group has distributed literature door-to-door on how to âÄúhave a good time and how to party without having the police called on them,âÄù Buchanan said.
The flyers include legal basics and tips for keeping parties low key.
Minneapolis 2nd Precinct Crime Prevention Specialist Nick Juarez said the active participation of students in their own neighborhoods has been a large contributor to the success of the program. Students have a better understanding of the rules and laws regarding gatherings, he said, which helps to reduce complaints and citations.
He said the project dates back to mid-2008.
The collaboration came out of a 2007 study by the University looking at the impact the school has on its surrounding neighborhoods.
The impact study launched programs like the Student Neighborhood Liaisons and MinneapolisâÄô strategic compliance team, Buchanan said. The team has similar goals to the student liaisons but with more representation from the city and businesses.
The larger focus of the project to make neighborhoods a better place has been to increase livability, or quality of life.
University Director of Community Relations Jan Morlock has found these efforts successful, including in how they allow police to focus on bigger problems.
âÄúThe less time officers have to spend responding to crimes that are not threatening anyoneâÄôs personal safety, the better off we are,âÄù she said.
Juarez has found cops have more time to do proactive patrolling rather than just responding to complaints.
The efforts of the University and the city have been recognized by many as a success, including Ward 3 Councilwoman Diane Hofstede.
âÄúFrom a number of standpoints itâÄôs a safer area for University students and people have become more educated,âÄù she said.
The relationship between the University and the city has also been âÄúdeepenedâÄù from the face-to-face discussions that were part of the initiative, she said.
The coordination of all the groups involved is the most challenging part, Buchanan said.
âÄúThe fact that these groups are willing to work together and are willing to work with us and each other is really something that has never happened before in this corner of Minneapolis,âÄù Buchanan said.
Psychology junior and former Southeast Como resident Linnaea Lindahl said in the seven months she lived there, she didnâÄôt find noise to be a problem even though she was worried it might be when she moved there in the fall.
Marketing junior Tien Le has found the Southeast Como neighborhood pleasant since she moved there in August.
âÄúItâÄôs pretty quiet for a college neighborhood,âÄù she said.