U of M crime: Students threaten to "take matters into our own hands," demand more cops

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For many students, the possibility more police equals more busted-up parties is a lesser concern than getting campus' crime problem under control.
:::: UPDATE :::: U of M student says two men tried to abduct her near TCF Bank stadium

Here's a new one -- college students actually demanding more cops hang out around campus.

RELATED: U of M student says she saw creepy cop impersonator on West Bank earlier this month

But that's the state of affairs at the University of Minnesota, where a rash of high-profile crimes has pushed a group of students to the breaking point.

In a MoveOn.org petition signed by more than 3,000 people as of this morning, Sara Gottlieb and Rachel Sadowsky write:
The recent crime incidents have interfered with our ability to learn: we are not able to go to libraries to study at night because we are afraid to walk home afterwards. We are hesitant to go to night classes for the same reason. We feel imprisoned in our own homes for fear of what could happen to us if we leave. Nowhere feels safe anymore.
"As these incidents unfold, it appears as though the University is doing nothing but sending out crime alerts that remind us to stay in groups and not listen to music as we walk at night. That is not enough." the petition continues. "We are demanding an increase in police presence both on campus and in the surrounding neighborhoods to combat this crime. Our campus is a part of the city of Minneapolis, and it is absolutely imperative that the two police forces collaborate to reach the common goal of increasing campus safety."

What will students do if they deem officials' response to be unsatisfactory? From the petition:
If steps are not taken immediately, we, the students, will take matters into our own hands. Many of us are applying to transfer because we cannot tolerate feeling so unsafe and vulnerable. As graduates of Minnesota public school systems that send dozens of high school graduates to the University of Minnesota each year, we will go out of our way to reach out to our communities and urge students not to apply here. We will present the signatures on this petition to the media and inform them of the recurring issues. Bad publicity is certainly not something the University needs at this time.
But in a press release addressing the recent crime surge, U of M officials argue they're doing all they can to bring the problem under control. From the release:
In the week since President Eric Kaler pledged enhanced measures to increase safety, University Police officers have logged more than 100 hours of overtime, Boynton Health Service has expanded the Gopher Chauffeur service to include Thursday nights and the UMPD Coordinated Response Team has continued its work with the Minneapolis Second Precinct that resulted in seven arrests in two different incidents. Last Friday night, President Kaler accompanied UMPD on a ride-along from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. to witness first-hand the variety of challenges officers face.

Earlier today, President Kaler and Vice President for University Services Pamela Wheelock met with Mayor-elect Betsy Hodges to discuss campus safety and other University issues. Last week, Wheelock and University Police Chief Greg Hestness met with Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau to discuss University concerns and how to enhance joint efforts to ensure safety near and on campus.
"Police presence alone won't ensure campus and neighborhood safety," the release concludes. "Work must continue to build a culture of shared responsibility for safety among students, faculty and staff."

h/t -- MPR

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at arupar@citypages.com.

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55 comments
info3592
info3592

SCOTUS: Police have no duty to protect you. YOU are your own first responder. Get training. Explore your personal safety options.

laxx1559
laxx1559

Don't walk around town while staring down at your phone, ESPECIALLY at night.  Take your headphones out, and walk in lighted and populated areas if possible.   I imagine there is a portion of the U of M population from small towns, where they don't have to deal with things like this, and their only solution is to get a gun.  Be aware.

Dee Finkelson
Dee Finkelson

Get a gun. But plz go to basic training for handgun first b4 u jump into buying gun. Esp. For u who doesnt grow up around guns. My kids ( when they r grown up) for sure will be comfy around guns since they learn how to use & treat gun respectfully since they 9 yrs old.

A Marie Runnels
A Marie Runnels

Or maybe make vigilante justice a major? Internships, etc...

Everyday Normal Guy
Everyday Normal Guy

get yourselves a permit to carry and go down and get yourself a pistol. durrrr keep it outta sight outta mind.

Lisa Smith
Lisa Smith

It's just sad that anyone would do that to anyone let alone a college kid.Let up let them learn. So that the college kid can learn the trade they are mastering and bring the world to a better place..but in terms of safety-Use your best judgement And Above all KICK ASS!!!!!!!!!

Dave Ginterz
Dave Ginterz

guaranteed alot more DWI arrests now in the area

Tyson Schuetze
Tyson Schuetze

Shared responsibility for what? Students aren't even full time residents. Victim blaming anyone?

Tanner Slade Olson
Tanner Slade Olson

Yea i thought matters in our own hands meant, kids where going to beat some ass. Or see shit going down, step in. Fuck just students, see violent crime going on to anyone. Step up. They pick students because you allow yourself to be an easy target. And probably have money or something of value on you. Sad, but true.

Chad Liljegren
Chad Liljegren

Anyone know who you call when the cops wont come or wont do anything to help? It seems like they will write tickets but not arrest criminals.

k2yeb
k2yeb topcommenter

It is not a very safe campus. I had one friend get mugged after a basketball game at 10pm on a Tuesday night. 

Ran Dazzle
Ran Dazzle

quit walking by yourself at 2 in the morning..put down the phone and the head phones and pay attention to your surroundings

William Dallas Patterson
William Dallas Patterson

that would be nice,but they're waiting for the thinning of the heard to end first.then they'll swoop down and polish and pretty everything for the next batch...

James Cox
James Cox

were is the bridge patrol were is the monitars

Reid Diebel
Reid Diebel

So cops stop crime? -- Be street smart..

Jeff Huinker
Jeff Huinker

I read in the strib that the liberal arts students want more cops around? Never again will I read anything that puts those words in the same sentence.

jason.carle
jason.carle

These students did not think this through very well, Police do not prevent crime, they are incapable of preventing crime, therefore having more of them will be useless.  Police can only respond once a crime has already been committed  You want to be safer, take some responsibility for your own safety and think before you act.

TerryScott
TerryScott

The University should allow conceal and carry ubiquitously on campus.  

Level the playing field.

It's going to take one time for these idiot criminals to fuck with the wrong person and then someone is going to get put in the hospital, or worse.  This is inevitable.  

Fear is a catalyst for irrationality and violence.  


When I walk around campus at night I carry at least a large rock or a baseball bat.  

James Cowart
James Cowart

i dunno, maybe the students should wise up and stop getting into random cars at 2 in the morning.

Katie Starks
Katie Starks

I was at Acadia the other night and overheard two separate sets of female students planning out who was walking with whom for safety. This was at 6:30pm on a Monday. They are taking things into their own hands. This is not a threat, it is a promise.

Kevin Green
Kevin Green

Since when is self protection in anyone elses hands???

btwftw
btwftw

Everyone can agree that crime is rampant all over Mnpls. No area is really "safe", but the most recent crime involving a suspect who impersonated a police officer and assaulted a woman on the U of M campus is particularily concerning and something obviously needs to be done. More police presence won't do a damn thing to deter criminals. It hasn't worked downtown or anywhere else.  

Hank Butitta
Hank Butitta

These comments are extremely disappointing. A woman was assaulted by a fake officer, and you're all dismissing students for being concerned for their own safety, and criticizing them for trying to call attention to the issue.

julianesparza65
julianesparza65

What students don't realize is how safe campus is relative to the rest of the city.  University area  crime has actually gone down in the last decade, and other parts of the city are in greater need of police presence.  

What would make a huge difference is if students were smarter.  Most of the recent incidents involve people walking alone after dark (often past midnight).  Plus, a lot of the victims are intoxicated.  I'm not saying that it's ever the victims fault, but everyone of us has to be realistic about the world and make decisions that help maintain our personal safety.  It's all a part of living in a city as big as Minneapolis.

John Leiferman
John Leiferman

More cops? Give me a break...Cops respond after shootings and rarely prevent them. Carry a pistol. Typical liberal craptard press release demanding bigger government in order to not fix the problem. What have cops done to stop the savage murders in North? Jack shit. Call Charlie Bronson instead of being a stuck up glass house rich lib. Go ahead and leave campus and stop applying. College students are already on welfare, just a different kind. What a bunch of stuck up priveledged hipster wimps.

brads651
brads651

This petition seems to me to be really misguided, and what they're demanding would just increase the hostile campus environment for Black students and increase police harassment of Black youth in neighborhoods near the U. Their petition says:

"We are demanding an increase in police presence both on campus and in the surrounding neighborhoods to combat this crime. Our campus is a part of the city of Minneapolis, and it is absolutely imperative that the two police forces collaborate to reach the common goal of increasing campus safety."

and:

"If steps are not taken immediately, we, the students, will take matters into our own hands. Many of us are applying to transfer because we cannot tolerate feeling so unsafe and vulnerable. As graduates of Minnesota public school systems that send dozens of high school graduates to the University of Minnesota each year, we will go out of our way to reach out to our communities and urge students not to apply here. We will present the signatures on this petition to the media and inform them of the recurring issues. Bad publicity is certainly not something the University needs at this time."

If they think the answer to their problems is to demand more police repression against Black youth in Minneapolis particularly around the U (which is what is already happening and the result of their demand would be more of that), then maybe the U of M isn't the place for them. I think the increase of free ride programs for students at the U are a great response to this. People can think of other measures they can take that don't result in all young Black males near the U always feeling like everyone looks at them as a suspect, and that won't cause the MPD to further criminalize all Black males.

Jack Howard Buckholz
Jack Howard Buckholz

I was really upset that "take matters into our own hands" didn't mean vigilante justice. I will sign a petition to get a Batman on campus.

Gunner Trees
Gunner Trees

Anyone who thinks adding more cops is a good idea is clearly naive and ignorant. It's sad that some people believe that a police state is necessary. They want you to be in fear. People need to wake up. This whole thing sounds like an attempt to get attention by some poor children.

btwftw
btwftw

Sad that a U of M student can no longer feel safe on their own campus. They have to pay a shit load of money just to go there. It must be hard to get the most out of a college experience if you can't navigate the campus anymore without the threat of being mugged, robbed or raped by a fake cop. Way to go Mnpls police! What a shit show that entire dept. is!  

Stuttering John
Stuttering John

The U is a gun free zone so there won't be any guns there right? lol

Jewell Rogers
Jewell Rogers

The housing where other than students all walks of life live...make safe for them.

DaveA55
DaveA55

Can they extend this petition to downtown MPLS too?  Need about 300 more police down there at any given time, like now.

Al Bindewald
Al Bindewald

Need a cop in Dinkey Town? Just park a minute over at one of those retarded parking meters over there.

Jaime Helgeson
Jaime Helgeson

Except for my freshman year at the U, when I was still getting acclimated to city life, I have never felt unsafe while out by myself at night on campus. You are college students, just use common sense.

TerryScott
TerryScott

@James Cowart why should students not walk on campus whenever they want?  Do they not pay the tuition fee, are they not free to walk freely anywhere they would like to?  

Is this America?  

MNpride
MNpride

It is kinda a fact of life!  If Black males would stop being criminal thugs responsible for 99% of the crime and murders in Mpls as well as every other major city in this country, they would not be under suspicion!   Face it, urban ghettos are nothing but Democrat run bastiuons of black crime!  But then again, that is why the ghettos always vote for these fools!  They know the Dems will never do a thing to stop their criminal lifestyles and the welfare, food stamps, free Medicaid and Public Housing will always be given in exchange for their votes!  Get over it, it will never change as long as Dems are in charge!  Think of it like this, your taxes support most of the Thugs, then they steal what you have on top of that!  What a great country we have!

senatortombstone
senatortombstone

@brads651: unfortunately, black males appear to be exclusively responsible for this recent spike in crime. Surely, law-abiding black males of goodwill would not mind undergoing a little inconvenience, if it meant reducing crimes for everyone, overall. 

CITYRIDERRT19
CITYRIDERRT19

@brads651 Where in the article does it mention race?  Seems to me they are trying to be proactive and deal with the crime issue by making the students feel safer, police presence is one way people may feel safer.

TerryScott
TerryScott

@Jack Howard Buckholz I second this Batman idea.


laxx1559
laxx1559

@Jaime Helgeson Exactly!  Don't walk around in your own zone while staring down at your $400 cell phone and headphones in.  Be aware of your surroundings.   There is no such thing as a 'safe city' things happen everywhere.

MNpride
MNpride

And yes, this is America that is full of criminal thugs!  You are free to walk anywhere and the criminals like that!

brads651
brads651

@CITYRIDERRT19 @brads651 In the 'crime alerts' the U sends out to the campus community, they usually include a description of the suspect. Just about every one this semester has been described as a "black male in his 20s". Nothing more specific than that. First, what's the point of such a nondescript description other than to have everyone around campus be suspicious of every Black male they see? Second, that makes the clamor for more cops and security take on a particular racist character. Obviously we don't know the race or nationality of the people signing the petition, but I'd bet you could count on one hand the number of Black students that have signed on.

laxx1559
laxx1559

@brads651 @CITYRIDERRT19 I'm waiting for some person to overreact when approached by an african-american, and for it to have disastrous consequences.  when people get overly vigilant, bad things tend to happen [see George Zimmerman]

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