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Crime rates around UMN mostly stagnate with some exceptions

Property damage and theft rates have increased in most University-area neighborhoods while car thefts have decreased in a year.
Image by Gabrielle Erenstein
Minneapolis police car in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on July 7, 2023. Minneapolis Police have struggled to maintain stable and adequate staffing since 2019.

Reports of property damage and theft have risen in the University of Minnesota area while reports for most other crimes have stagnated over the last year, according to Minneapolis crime dashboard data.

Most offenses on the University campus saw little change within the past year. However, reports of assault have more than doubled from six reports in 2023 to 13 reports in 2024, according to the crime dashboard. Property damage, such as vandalism, also increased year-over-year from three to 11 reports.

Interfraternity Council President Maxwell Tuzinski-Dashe said car thefts, vandalism and safety around fraternity events are major concerns for students living in areas populated with Greek life.

“I feel like it’s very seasonal with how things happen,” Tuzinski-Dashe said. “Especially around springtime. That’s usually a peak when it comes to the kind of crime and unsafe areas on campus.

The University implemented public safety measures like the Dinkytown Safe Streets initiative with the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) and improving University building access features, according to the University spokesperson Jake Ricker.

A mixed bag of crime rates near the University

Marcy-Holmes, Cedar-Riverside and Prospect Park saw major decreases in car thefts in a single year. However, nearly all neighborhoods except Cedar-Riverside had more reports of property damage and theft compared to the previous year. Assault and burglary rates remained similar over the past year. 

The Como neighborhood saw a 44.8% decrease in assault offenses over the past year, from 29 reports in 2023 to 16 reports in 2024, according to the crime dashboard. 

Tuzinski-Dashe praised UMPD’s new service area that goes beyond University borders. 

“The organization I represent went from essentially having no organizations be covered by UMPD to now having over half of ours, which is really great,” Tuzinski-Dashe said. 

The addition of more street lights in the Marcy-Holmes and Dinkytown neighborhoods is another good step to making residents feel safer, Tuzinski-Dashe added. 

Campus Safety Coalition Board Member Mike Olson said something important students can do is report a crime when they see it because it builds awareness. Without documentation, Olson said many crimes go under the radar as if they never happened. 

“In the eyes of decision-makers, policymakers, politicians, school administration, if it wasn’t reported, it’s not documented, it didn’t happen,” Olson said. 

More safety measures are coming to the University, according to the Campus Safety Progress update. Installing turnstiles at Middlebrook and 17th Avenue residence halls and tracking the implementation of street lights in Marcy-Holmes and Como are among the proposed measures. 

Recruitment efforts continue 

MPD has regularly spoken about its struggles to recruit police officers at 2019 levels. They had more than 900 officers in March 2019 but had just under 600 officers in March 2023 and 560 officers as of March 2024, according to data from MPD spokesperson Garrett Parten. MPD recruitment has been down since the protests following the murder of George Floyd in 2020.

In March, UMPD started a partnership with MPD in Marcy-Holmes and Dinkytown because of the city’s struggle to recruit new officers.

The second precinct, which covers Prospect Park, Marcy-Holmes, Como and the University area, is served by around 60 officers, inspector Nicholas Torborg said in an MPD public meeting. 

Torborg added that the second precinct receives additional help from UMPD, Metro Transit Police, Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office and Minneapolis Park Police. 

“We work with the UMPD a lot,” Torborg said. “They have doubled their staffing on the weekend and that area to help us appreciate it.”

The University is also recruiting additional police officers, community service officers and security personnel at the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, according to the Campus Safety Progress update. 

University Student Government Safety Taskforce Chair Keegan Wulf said it is not as simple as adding more police officers. While students are concerned about crime, there is also concern about over-policing and the reputation of the MPD, Wulf added.

“We want to make sure that when [MPD] are staffing up, students aren’t seeing that increased staffing levels of threat to their own safety,” Wulf said. 

Olson said no one should be discouraged from reporting a crime or situation to the police, but the reality is that people are. The Campus Safety Coalition offers anonymous reporting alternatives to reporting directly to the police on its website

“It’s important that you’re doing something, no matter how small, it’s better than doing nothing at all,” Olson said. 

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  • Ken DeYoe
    May 1, 2024 at 4:37 pm

    I’m curious as to if UMPD is struggling to find recruits like MPD?