3 armed robberies near Univ. of Minnesota on first 2 days of spring semester

The problem of armed robberies continues to plague the neighborhoods surrounding the University of Minnesota campus. Tuesday night, on the first day of spring semester, a U of M student was robbed at gunpoint near the Pillsbury Court Apartments at 11th Avenue SE and 6th Street SE.

Two additional robberies were reported the very next day, just a few blocks away. Between 10 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 20 and 3:30 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 21, victims were approached by two men armed with a handgun. One of the robberies was reported at the intersection of 8th Street SE and 14th Avenue SE, and the other was reported at The Bridges Apartments at 930 University Avenue SE.

These robberies are being investigated by Minneapolis police. Anyone with information that leads to the arrest and conviction of a person in this case might be eligible for a cash reward. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or send an anonymous tip to CRIMES (274637) and begin message with: TIP 674. The case numbers for these crimes are: 16-021454 and 16-021696.

What’s being done to stop this trend?

The University of Minnesota’s Board of Regents set aside $4 million to improve safety on campus. The university promised to change the lightbulbs on the campus side of University Avenue, between 12th Street and Oak Street, from yellow to white to make them brighter. That appears to have been done, but there are still yellow lightbulbs on the other side of the street and in Dinkytown, where many students walk at night.

The university also added security cameras to popular pedestrian thoroughfares like University Avenue and Church Street, and continues expanded hours for free escort and transportation services like the Gopher Chauffer program to make sure students can get home safely late at night.

But the vast majority of crimes affecting students actually happen in the neighborhoods off campus, which can still get pretty dark, and these crimes fall under the jurisdiction of the Minneapolis Police Department.

For their part, Minneapolis police say they meet with university police once a week to identify hotspots and step up patrols in those areas. U of M police have already added 3 officers and are hiring two new beat cops this fall.

Minneapolis police have also been working with businesses in the neighborhoods around campus to add lighting and install their own security cameras, and continues to reach out to students to take precautions about their own personal safety.