City and university leaders discuss concerns over violence near U of M

University of Minnesota and Minneapolis city leaders faced a lot of questions Monday night as concerns over crime and violence near the campus continue to rise.

Students and their parents voiced their worries about safety at a forum on campus. A lot of parents in the room Monday are concerned for their students living on and around campus.

Just this past Friday, a bullet went flying through a Dinkytown apartment, while a problem house on fraternity row continues to attract crime.

"I shouldn’t fear walking two minutes to work that I could be shot - I could be mugged," said incoming junior Steve Runkel.

Runkel lives in a fraternity across from what has become a problem property on University Avenue. He said his friends have filed numerous complaints about the property, many of which they feel go ignored. Last month, a 15-year-old was found shot outside.

UMPD Police Chief Matt Clark explaining that while they temporarily increased patrols around the property, legally they can’t go inside without just cause.

"I understand that there’s laws but, at the end of the day, it shouldn’t take a 15-year-old shot for them to say, ‘we need to shut this down,’" said Runkel.

University and city leaders blamed the difficulty in recruiting new officers but promised that they are trying to beef up patrol staff.

"We are doing everything that we possibly can to make sure that you both feel safe and you are safe," Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey told members of the audience.

Many speakers in the audience brought up the "Safe U" alerts that only go out to students when crime happens on campus. Dinkytown and most of the areas where students live are not included in the alert zone.

"Depending on the side of the sidewalk you’re on, people will hear about it or they won’t hear about it and that doesn’t make sense to me," one person said.

Chief Clark told the crowd that it’s a difficult issue, but he’s willing to look into it.

"Let us explore that and let us get back to you."