As crime is high in Dinkytown, the University looks for solutions

Violent and property crimes hit a peak in May 2021, with numbers tapering off by August.

Pedestrians walk through Dinkytown on Oct. 13, 2017.

Image by Courtney Deutz

Pedestrians walk through Dinkytown on Oct. 13, 2017.

by Hanna Van Den Einde

Marcy-Holmes residents are voicing concerns as violent crimes have nearly doubled in comparison to 2020. The University of Minnesota responded to the elevated rates by implementing more public safety measures in Dinkytown.

In May 2021, the number of crimes reached a peak of 129 total property and violent crimes in Marcy-Holmes, with the majority as property crimes. Since then, the total of property and violent crimes in the neighborhood have decreased by 49 in August.

In June, the University announced that more police officers would be present and more security cameras in Marcy-Holmes would be installed in response to a shooting in Dinkytown.

After extra security measures were taken, the number of crimes decreased to 80 total violent and property crimes in August. In comparison to past years, property and violent crimes increased from May to August in 2019 and 2020.

Minneapolis Police Department Public Information Officer Garrett Parten said extra security cameras can help to decrease crime in the neighborhood.

“A camera never blinks and it’s recording whatever it’s pointing at,” Parten said. “So even if a crime does occur, it does greatly enable us to solve crime because suspect, description, suspect activity is all caught on camera.”

The University also announced longer term changes for the area, including installing more blue light kiosks which alert emergency services when used. The University has 30 blue light kiosks and 4,600 security cameras throughout Minneapolis and St. Paul campuses.

Four new blue light kiosks were installed on the perimeter of the East Bank campus and more will be installed in off-campus areas. If someone uses a kiosk on campus, UMPD receives the alert, but if someone uses a kiosk off campus, then MPD will receive the alert.

Kent Kramp, the vice president of the Dinkytown Business Association and owner of Raising Cane’s in Dinkytown, said the additional patrols in Dinkytown are important, but additional lighting would be helpful for the area.

“There’s certain things that neighborhoods need for security, and proper lighting is a big one and something I’ve felt that Dinkytown specifically has lacked through to the last couple years,” Kramp said. “But otherwise, just the increased presence, increased patrols, that’s the most helpful thing that they can do.”

Since June, the University has continued to implement policies improving safety for students in Dinkytown, such as offering public safety classes for students and Rave, a virtual walking app that students can use to contact UMPD.

Myron Frans, senior vice president of Finance and Operations at the University, said safety training for those on campus is another important part of safety.

“I think we want people to be aware of their surroundings, you have to sort of be aware of your surroundings and make sure that you make smart choices,” Frans said.

In an effort to address events that do not need police presence, such as domestic conflicts or mental health crises, the University also hired a social worker and a community liaison.

Frans said the University hired them to address needs for people who live on and off campus.

“What we really want is to make sure that our surrounding communities and people who live and work in these communities … we want to make sure that we understand their needs for public safety and other issues,” Frans said.