University of Minnesota to up weekend police patrols
The University of Minnesota and the Minneapolis Police Department are upping the weekend law enforcement presence in Dinkytown and Marcy-Holmes in response to growing concerns about crime around campus.
Driving the news: "Operation Gopher Guardian" will dispatch up to 10 additional officers to the area on Friday and Saturday nights for the next two weekends, Myron Frans, the U's senior vice president for finance and operations. wrote in a Wednesday email to students, faculty and staff.
Context: Some students and parents have been ramping up pressure on the U and city to address crime near campus.
- Several people, including at least one student, were injured when a group shot fireworks into homes and crowds outside fraternity houses and a nearby pizza shop last weekend.
By the numbers: The city crime dashboard shows carjackings have increased significantly in Marcy Holmes — 19 so far this year, compared to 7 at this point in 2021.
- Reports of assaults and vandalism are also up, while robberies and sex offenses are down.
Flashback: The initiative is one of several responses the U has tried this year.
- Dinkytown streets were temporarily closed this summer after a spike in incidents, and the U has held two "Safety Walks" this semester to increase UMPD's visibility.
What they're saying: Beth Ambaruch, a mom of two U students who is an active member of a group of concerned parents, called the latest response "a short-term plan for a chronic condition."
- "It feels like administration is reactive, not proactive," she told Axios. "What happens after two weeks? ... I recognize that it’s a very complex issue and that it’s not as simple as more money, or more bodies, but there has to be something."
Between the lines: While there are some U-owned buildings in Dinkytown, most of the neighborhood isn’t under UMPD jurisdiction, a spokesperson confirmed.
- Yes, but: The area houses thousands of students and most Greek Life residences, leading some to question why the college's police department doesn't add more patrols to student-heavy neighborhoods.
Of note: Overtime MPD and UMPD officers will fill the extra shifts.
- The University will pay for the extra patrols, but a spokesperson said it won't know the total costs until afterwards.
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