MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A rash of robberies and assaults on the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus has students calling for more police on the beat.
As a result, Minneapolis Police are ramping up its efforts to keep students on and near campus safe.
MPD has more than doubled the number of officers that patrol the neighbors that border the campus, where most of the crime has taken place.
There have been 28 robberies on or near campus since early August, some of those robbers attacked their victims or used a gun when committing their crimes.
Now MPD is fighting back.
They’re increasing patrols and offering tips to keep students safe on and near campus.
“The people that we are watching for people to victimize are what we’re looking for,” said Lt. Bruce Jensen.
Lt. Bruce Jensen is part of a beefed up presence of officers in neighborhoods that surround the U.
“The Como neighborhood, the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood and the Prospect Park neighborhoods are the primary areas that we’re focused on,” Jensen said.
It’s these areas where crime has been an issue and where MPD is concentrating its efforts.
The plan is simple, saturate the area with patrol and undercover officers, as well as using mobile cameras to deter criminal activity.
For students the recent rash of crimes is alarming.
“Especially with people pretending to be cops and stuff that’s scary,” said student Laura Schneider.
That impersonator was responsible for a sexual assault on campus. Since school began this fall, there have been two sexual assaults, one attempted abduction and more than a dozen robberies where a weapon was used.
“I’m worried about leaving the apartment complex after a certain hour, definitely try not to go anywhere by myself,” said student Robert Smith.
Concerned students even put together an online petition asking for additional officers to protect them and they got their wish.
But police need students to be aware of their surroundings.
“When you’re out, especially when you are alone, keep your phone in your pocket and don’t text or get on the internet until you reach your destination and off the street,” Jensen said.
MPD is spearheading a safety walk Friday on campus.
They are asking area businesses and homeowners to help reduce the opportunities for robberies by turning outside lights on.
Safety tips will also be given to all in attendance. Click here for more information (.doc).