MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - The Hennepin County Sheriff's Office is increasing patrols at the University of Minnesota in the hopes of stopping crime in the area.
Monday marked move-in day, and U of M first year Ava Phillippi is already monitoring the campus crime alert system as she arrives from New Prague. Her dad, a university employee, wants to make sure his oldest is safe.
"In the past year or two, it’s definitely a lot more alerts, robberies, assaults - things like that," John Phillippi said.
"Most of my classes are in the morning, so hopefully I won’t have to worry about that too much. But at night, I probably will be walking with some of my friends," Ava added.
With the fall semester kicking off soon, the university’s leadership is emphasizing safety not just on the physical campus, but in the surrounding Minneapolis neighborhoods. Officials are particularly focused on Dinkytown and Marcy-Holmes, where crime has been an issue and the Minneapolis Police Department remains short staffed.
Just a few weekends ago, a female student was shot and seriously injured near the 1200 block of 4th Street SE. The gunman was never caught.
The university beefed up overtime for its own officers to increase night-time patrols, and now the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office is pitching in with additional manpower.
"The U of M move-in, it’s an exciting time in a young adult’s life. They shouldn’t be victims of crime. They shouldn’t be shot, they shouldn’t be mugged," Hennepin County Sheriff Dave Hutchinson said.
Hutchinson is committing resources the next few weeks, particularly on busy weekend evenings. The advice from the experts for those new to urban campus living are to always be aware of your surroundings, walk in groups, and if there’s something suspicious, call 911.
"We’ve had incidents, some violent crime incidents where we definitely want a higher visibility during those key hours especially at night, during bar close as well. We know we have a lot of students coming back to campus, and we want to make sure they’re safe and there is a visible presence," said Chief Matt Clark with the University of Minnesota Police Department.