Off-campus insecurity

The area’s off-campus residents see a rise in theft at the start of the school year.

Connor Nikolic

Like many of my fellow University of Minnesota students, I was out at a party last Saturday night. While I was enjoying weekend shenanigans, someone snooped in my supposedly empty house in Marcy-Holmes.

My roommate woke to see a dust outline where his Xbox normally lay. I spent over an hour tearing up the house searching for my MacBook Pro. By noon, we realized we were robbed.

I’ve moved on from the grief of losing more than a year’s worth of memories and irreplaceable files. I now question the security of my neighborhood.

If someone can come in to my house, grab my $1,500 laptop and walk to my roommate’s bedroom and take his Xbox, then what is to stop them from hiding and waiting for my roommates and I to come home?

It is a terrifying proposition. I had my parents drive down with my old baseball bat, just in case.

Robberies and similar thefts take place at a higher rate as the summer ends and the school year begins compared to any other time of year. Between Jan. 29 and April 1, there were 36 home burglaries in the 2nd Precinct, which contains Marcy-Holmes and other University-area neighborhoods. Just between Aug. 27 and Sep. 30, the number of home burglaries jumped to 65.

In the first week of October alone, the 2nd Precinct reported 19 burglaries, 11 thefts from motor vehicles and 15 larceny offenses.

The 2nd Precinct reported similar spikes in off-campus thefts during the first few weeks of the 2011-12 and
2012-13 academic years.

I don’t blame the thief. Burglars are commonly men under the age of 25, trying to make living expenses or fund drug use. Anyone who is desperate enough to run into a home and loot it without concern of confrontation is in a far worse place in life than I am.

I’ll be the first person to admit that my own carelessness could have contributed to this debacle. I recall several instances in which I left the house without checking our locks or have returned home to find the door unlocked. It’s entirely feasible that the thief could’ve used an unlocked door.

That being said, I don’t believe as a tenant I should be expected to take on the full responsibility of the stolen goods. Had I known how dangerous this neighborhood is, and how regularly burglaries take place, I may have taken out renters insurance or gone to greater lengths to protect my valuables. Rather, I let myself be lulled into a false sense of security. I believed that I would be safe in a neighborhood so close to campus and so highly populated by fellow students.

I love living in Marcy-Holmes. The neighborhood welcomed my fellow roommates and me. It showed us nothing but kindness since we moved in. The bus stops right on our corner and zips to campus every morning. The market down on Eighth Street covers most of my basic grocery runs, and my neighbors are always happy to chat. There is no other location, on or off campus, where I would rather live. I just wish the area wasn’t so dangerous.

Tomorrow, I will have my locks changed by my rental company. I need my peace of mind restored; I can’t say I’ve slept well since that night.

Although this precaution will help alleviate my concerns, I wish that I had been warned by my rental company about the dangers of living in these areas before I moved in.

I hope that future student residents, freshly moved into the neighborhood, take up precautions to keep their property safe from theft.