Myron Frans, senior vice president for finance and operations at the U of M, outlined some steps the campus is taking to improve safety, following a spike in crime.
MINNEAPOLIS — A spike in crime along University Avenue and other areas near the University of Minnesota over the last several months has prompted the school to take additional action around student and community safety.
In a message to students, faculty and staff, Myron Frans, senior vice president for finance and operations at the U of M, outlined several steps the campus is taking to beef up safety.
Those initiatives include:
- Investing in overtime for increased University of Minnesota Police Department (UMPD) patrols on campus and in surrounding neighborhoods
- Using mobile lighting and camera trailers “where they can provide the most value”
- Evaluating adding additional non-sworn security personnel to the campus
- Launching a new safety awareness campaign
Matt Clark, the chief of the University of Minnesota Police Department, told the Board of Regents earlier this month that violent incidents in neighborhoods near campus have increased about 45 percent since the pandemic started. While his officers help Minneapolis police patrol areas like Dinkytown, Clark said he currently only has 48 active officers on duty, compared to the department’s authorized strength of 61.
“We’ve assigned officers every night, since last August, to Dinkytown, and had multiple officers assigned to different overtime events,” Clark told the board. “We are stretched thin; we’re down.”
Minneapolis police, meanwhile, said they responded to more reports of gunfire in the heart of Dinkytown early Sunday just before 1:30 a.m. Although police said nobody was injured, the violent activity rattled students in the neighborhood, like soon-to-be junior Sydnie Staebell.
“It’s not cool that we’ve had, what, three shootings occur within a block of where we live just in the past two years we’ve been students?” she said. “It’s insane.”
Also this month, tenants illegally living at what the school dubbed a “problem property” along the 1700 block of University Avenue SE were evicted. The building, which is not owned by the university, was at the center of several bouts of violent crime, including a shooting that injured a 15-year-old boy on June 3.
“There were dozens of 911 calls related to that specific address alone,” Minneapolis Police Public Information Officer Garrett Parten told KARE 11.
In a letter on June 13, Frans said the school hopes to work with the property owner to find a buyer for the building, and that several fraternities and sororities are looking for permanent facilities.
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