MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Twenty-two robberies in September’s first 11 days prompted the Minneapolis Police Department to issue a crime alert Wednesday advising residents on how to avoid and respond to robberies.
The alert said that most of the robberies have happened on the city’s north side, between Olson Memorial Highway and Dowling Avenue North. The perpetrators are described as teenage boys who target cell phones and often threaten their victims with weapons. In a few instances, the robbers have physically assaulted their victims.
Most of the robberies happened after dark, the alert said, but some have also happened during the day.
The following are safety habits the department encourages everyone to practice:
• When outdoors, stay alert to your surroundings. Be aware of who may be approaching you. If you use an iPod or other earphones, keep the sound to a minimum to help you hear people approaching.
• Trust your feelings and act on them. If you feel uncomfortable about a specific person or group of people approaching you keep your distance and, if appropriate, leave the area.
• Be alert to individuals who approach you asking for the time, directions, a match, etc. This is a common ploy used by assailants to distract you as they get close enough to attack.
• Be alert to how close people get to you and keep your distance from potential attackers by walking or running away and/or placing obstacles between you (car, bus shelter, etc.).
• Use strong body language by walking with confidence and purpose. Keep your head up and don’t look distracted. Attackers look for people who don’t appear to be paying attention to their surroundings.
• If you are out at night:
1. use the buddy system
2. travel in well-used areas
3. walk and jog in well-lit areas
• If you think someone is following you, switch directions and walk to a lighted home, business or where there are other people.
• Draw attention to yourself or a potential attacker by using loud verbal commands, a screech alarm, or both.
• Call 911 immediately to report any cries for help.