On-campus crime decreases; off-campus crime is up

Over half of off-campus crimes are thefts.

On-campus crime decreases; off-campus crime is up

Branden Largent

 

While crime rates on the University of Minnesota campus have decreased this year, campus-area neighborhoods have seen an increase.

Total reported crimes over the first three months of 2012 on campus have decreased by 16 percent compared to the same time period in 2011, according to University police statistics. But total crimes in neighborhoods surrounding campus — Marcy-Holmes, Prospect Park, Cedar- Riverside and Southeast Como — have increased by 7.3 percent.

The University police have not released April crime statistics, but University police Deputy Chief Chuck Miner said they will likely follow the current trend. 

Seven out of 87 Minneapolis neighborhoods had crime rates reaching the triple digits during the first quarter of the year. Marcy-Holmes, which includes Dinkytown, is one of them.

Robberies and burglaries in Marcy-Holmes have been on an upward trend since last year, said Nick Juarez, Minneapolis police crime prevention specialist.

But he said crime rates in Marcy-Holmes have decreased since March, when Minneapolis police made multiple arrests in connection to burglaries and robberies in the neighborhood.

Marcy-Holmes has not seen any robbery incidents since the March arrests, Juarez said.

Minneapolis police, along with University Student Neighborhood Liaisons, have been door-knocking in Marcy-Holmes several times this semester for Spring Jam, the Frozen Four hockey tournament and following the increased burglaries during winter months, Juarez said. 

“It’s always been the same message, but we had a lot more opportunity to get it out there this time,” he said.

The Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association keeps residents informed on crime trends through crime alert emails and monthly safety and livability meetings, said Melissa Bean, MHNA executive director.

Much like on-campus crimes, item theft, bike thefts and thefts from motor vehicles are the No. 1 crimes in off-campus neighborhoods, accounting for more than half of all reported incidents.

Both Bean and Juarez said students are primary targets for thefts in neighborhoods near campus.

The MHNA continuously tries to inform students in the neighborhood to keep their doors locked and to not leave valuables in their cars, Bean said.

“Because there’s a different crop of students every year, it’s just an ongoing educational process,” Bean said.

Juarez said police will continue educating residents over the summer because people are inclined to keep their windows and doors unlocked and open, making them prone to burglaries.

“It’s about the education and making sure we are identifying the correct people and making good arrests,” Juarez said.