MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Students fearing a spike in on-campus and off-campus crime are breathing a sigh of relief after the University of Minnesota’s Board of Regents decided to reinvest $4.1 million into school safety.
On Friday, the board approved reallocating the money into what they describe as a collaborative, multi-pronged public safety initiative.
Since last August, the university has issued twenty-two crime alerts, eighteen related to robberies.
Chairman Rick Beeson said the board shares the goal of maintaining a safe environment for students, faculty, staff, and visitors to the campus.
“We put together a comprehensive plan with the city of Minneapolis and other partners to help address the immediate need,” Beeson said.
The money breaks down like this:
– $350,000 for additional security cameras
– $250,000 for improved lighting on campus
– $3.5 million for enhanced building access security
The $4.1 million was designated for the school’s Repair and Replacement funds for projects such as tuckpointing, sidewalk maintenance and window replacement. Those projects will now be delayed for future years.
After hearing news of the funding, students were relieved to see immediate actions were being taken.
“I think the improvements are necessary especially with all the crime,” said Jackson Richter, a student.
Richter says students need to also take some responsibility and be proactive. He recommends they not pull out their smartphones when walking at night and always be aware of their surroundings. Those same suggestions were given by the University of Minnesota Police Department.
School President Eric Kaler says the university receives 80,000 visitors to their Twin Cities campus every day.
“All levels of the university, along with student government, local law enforcement agency partners, public officials, and nearby neighborhoods are coming together to make it clear that we will not tolerate crime on our campus and in our neighborhoods,” said Kaler.
The board says they will continue using operating funds to support UMPD overtime. Since mid-October officers have logged more than 550 hours of overtime.
Also, the Gopher Chauffer has provided 2,000 rides this semester which nearly 650 more rides than this same time last year.