Police program intends to help

Sarah McKenzie

After an unprecedented number of burglaries swept through Stadium Village and Dinkytown earlier this winter, police found that in many cases businesses dropped the ball when it came to security.
Come Friday, Minneapolis crime prevention specialists will host the largest gathering on business security ever held in southeast Minneapolis. The seminar is in response to the record 38 business burglaries that hit areas around the University from early December to the end of January, organizers say.
Southeast Minneapolis businesses normally average only two to three burglaries per month.
Nicole Magnan, a crime prevention specialist for Minneapolis police, said the event will equip employees with information on simple, cost-effective techniques to strengthen security measures. She sent out over 500 invitations to area businesses.
Magnan said that in many cases, store employees and managers fail to do simple things to fend off burglaries and thefts.
Neglecting to make regular cash deposits, keeping doors unlocked and telling several employees the combinations to safes are often antecedents to crimes, she said.
“Businesses don’t need sophisticated alarm systems,” said Magnan. “There are inexpensive ways to prevent burglaries.”
Conducting background checks on potential employees and maintaining buildings can help alleviate many of the potential problems, Magnan said.
Michael McLaughlin, a consultant to the Stadium Village Association, said it just takes a little common sense to avoid flirting with potential burglars.
He said he hopes the December through January crime wave was an aberration. After more police officers started canvassing the area, McLaughlin said the crime rate subsided.
But he admitted many of the earlier burglaries were probably crimes of convenience. Burglars did not have to use extraordinary measures to victimize the businesses.
Duane Barclay, a photo technician for Minneapolis police, said he will present information on robbery surveillance cameras. Only a handful of businesses around campus have such cameras, he said.
“They are pretty inexpensive and relatively simple,” Barclay said. “We have had a lot of success with them.”
The seminars may expand to encompass other Minneapolis neighborhoods in the future, said Minneapolis Police Officer Robert Patrick, Sr.
Patrick, who covers the southeast beat, said he would like to see the crime-prevention smorgasbord of sorts become an annual event.
The morning seminar will start at 8 a.m. Friday at the University Technology Center. A second workshop will be held at the Radisson Hotel Metrodome at 2:30 p.m.