The Minnesota Star Tribune reports that after a string of robberies which occurred around and on the University of Minnesota campus this year, students have been warned over and over to not walk around campus alone in the dark.
Now University officials have to revamp their warnings to include walking alone during the day. This is because the last four crime alerts issued on campus have been because of daytime robberies. This is a shift that police say means criminals are becoming more brazen. They have also become more aware of the beefed up security at night, so they are trying their chances during the day.
Since August 1, around one-third of the robberies on campus happened between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. Not only were individuals who were walking alone targeted, but groups were targeted as well. Of the 21 crime alerts issued on fall robberies around the campus, only two of them involved a person robbed at night. The rest were crimes that occurred during the day and some of them were against two or more students walking in a group.
In the most recent daytime robbery, a student was confronted by a man who claimed to have a gun and demanded that the student hand over his laptop. The student’s computer was taken, but the student then called out for help and then chased the robber. The robber dropped the laptop and kept running.
A campus video shows two suspects entering the building where the student was studying just before the crime. Police believe that one was acting as a lookout while the other took the computer.
This was the 32nd robbery on or around the campus since August 1 with four on the campus and the rest in nearby neighborhoods. The police have responded with additional patrols and requests to neighboring agencies to assist in suppressing robberies. This included aggressively patrolling pedestrians. Some of those arrested had robbery convictions on their records or warrants out for their arrests.
Victims in the campus robberies have mostly been targeted for electronics, such as laptops and cell phones. Backpacks and purses have also been targeted. This has kept the campus on edge, prompting students to create petitions to increase police patrols.
The Metro Transit police, the State patrol, the Minneapolis Police, and the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office have all responded in some way to the crimes committed at the University. Extra officers have served as a start to combating the robberies in Hennepin County and around the campus. Surveillance cameras, extra security, and improved lighting on the campus are on the way.
As of now, the University has electronically controlled door locks on nearly 160 buildings between the Minneapolis and St. Paul campuses and they plan to have more installed by the end of the 2013-2014 school year. More surveillance cameras are also on the way to be placed along the outer boundaries of the campus.
The crimes this fall are indicative of the changes occurring in the neighborhoods around campus. They are becoming more densely populated. Plus, students tend to carry more valuable items with them, such as computers and wireless phones.