MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As students head into finals week, University of Minnesota police are looking into the first on campus robbery of the semester.
On Friday, a student reported being robbed along University Avenue, in a well-lit area outside a parking ramp just south of Williams Arena.
The woman told police he jumped from behind some bushes, flashed a gun and demanded her phone.
Overall, crime on campus and its surrounding neighborhoods is down. Officers are taking extra shifts and patrolling nearby neighborhoods to deter the bad guys.
Still, officers warn, residents and students should take responsibility for their safety, too.
Deputy Chief Chuck Miner, with U of M police, says that includes using the buddy system.
“It’s pretty rare when we have crimes occur, two or more people are together,” Miner said.
Also, put your phone away. Updating Facebook and texting friends can wait.
“When people are on their phone, they’re distracted and better targets,” Miner said. “Plus, they’re advertising they have a phone that is available.”
There’s also a special number students can call to connect with a Security Monitor, if they’re walking alone. The escort service is free and someone will walk with students to their car or home on or around campus.
Students requesting an escort can call 612-624-WALK (9255) or call 4-WALK from any campus phone. Security Monitors are also trained in First Aid, CPR and the use of an AED.
The line gets an average of 20 calls a day and is utilized more when classes are in session. But more come in following a crime alert.
Still, officers remind us the best advice is also the most simple.
“We do encourage students, just be aware of your surroundings they make good targets when they’re not aware of who’s walking behind them and who may be crossing the street to approach them,” Miner said.
The University’s escort service is available for both Minneapolis and St. Paul campuses. It’s available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to students, faculty or visitors to the University of Minnesota.
More personal safety tips can be found here.