Improved crime alert system set for U

By RILYN EISCHENS/Murphy News Service

The University of Minnesota will use a new communication system to better notify students of crimes off campus, after a spate of recent robberies near the U.

U Vice President Pamela Wheelock announced in an email last week that students will receive Neighborhood Safety Notices when crimes take place in nearby neighborhoods. Wheelock said in the email that the university will work with the Minneapolis Police Department to share information and better inform students.

The university already issues warnings in accordance with the Clery Act, which mandates that the university alert students when violent crimes take place on campus. However, the law does not apply to incidents in the surrounding areas, university spokesperson Tim Busse said.

“It is not a surprise to anybody that a vast majority of the crimes happen off campus,” Busse said. “We were looking for another vehicle to specify that something happened.”

The average monthly crime rate on campus in 2015 was lower than almost all the surrounding areas, MPD data shows.

Marcy-Holmes and Cedar-Riverside had the highest crime rates of the neighborhoods around the university. Crime rates in those two neighborhoods were nearly four times higher than the crime rate on campus.

Busse said crimes such as aggravated assault, armed robbery and sexual assault near the university will warrant safety notices.

“We are going to leave it up to discretion,” Busse said. “In Marcy-Holmes if there are a series of break-ins in cars, and we think students should know about it, we will let them know.”

Reporter Rilyn Eischens is studying journalism at the University of Minnesota.

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