Thursday, November 24, 2005

Armed robberies surge at University of Minnesota

You may see it on your local news, you won't see it in the Red Star, but you will see it at Rambix and the Red Star. Minneapolis armed violence is spilling over into the University of Minnesota campus, where you, or your daughter or son might be attending school with more things to worry about than some scumbag sticking a gun in their face: "2 robberies add to recent crime".

Two more robberies occurred near the University campus Monday night.
There is a rising trend of robberies close to campus and throughout Minneapolis, said Jim Long, crime prevention specialist for Minneapolis Police Department’s 2nd Precinct.

These two incidents bring the University area’s tally to at least four armed robberies in the past 18 days.
The crack reporters at the Red Star must be away at diversity training, because there has been nothing, repeat: nothing, on the 20+ robberies in Uptown Minneapolis, and the 4+ robberies at the University of Minnesota, which is located on the edge of downtown Minneapolis.

Fortunately, one MSM outlet, the Minnesota Daily campus newspaper, is responsible enough to warn the public. After all, isn't that the purpose of a newspaper - to disseminate news? One could hardly argue that violent robberies are not news.

You may question Rambix' use of the term "violent" for robberies in which weapons are brandished, but not used. Once you pull a gun or a knife, it's considered violent because of the imminent threat of death or injury. Here's a definition from the FBI:

Violent crime is composed of four offenses: murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. According to the Uniform Crime Reporting Program's definition, violent crimes involve force or threat of force.
All of the reported incidents involved use of force, or threat of force. If you look back in the Rambix archives for the Spring 2005 rash of robberies, you'll note that the use of force escalated until people were actually shot or injured. That's why it's important to stop the criminals immediately.

Jerry Rinehart, associate vice provost for Student Affairs, said the number of incidents is “alarming.”

So far, the University has sent alerts, but it won’t this time because it’s so similar to the last robbery incident, Rinehart said.

Also, the University has posted a note to parents on the University Parent Web site that includes safety tips, Reinhart said.

First-year biomedical engineering student Jenna Shaw said she’s scared with all the robberies so close to campus.

She said she does walk by herself at night, but she always keeps her cell phone on her.

Special education sophomore Whitney Bartle said that because of campus crime she makes sure to never go out late at night by herself, but the news of the robberies didn’t shock her.

I’m not really surprised.”
You shouldn't be surprised, young lady, when mayor Ryback is at the helm.

WCCO [Minneapolis] Channel 4 website has some warm fuzzys for us: "Uptown's Holiday Tradition: More Cops, Less Crime".

(WCCO) Minneapolis The Uptown shopping and nightlife district in Minneapolis is trendy any time of year, but the holiday season really packs them in. That's why an annual tradition of crime prevention started there years ago.

"We just want people to feel comfortable when you want to come to dinner (or) you have a holiday party," said Cindy Lerick Fitzpatrick, executive director of the Uptown Association. "It's that kind of (feeling): 'Oh, wow, there's a police officer.'"

For more than 15 years, the Uptown Association has hired extra police officers during the holiday season to walk the beat.
Yes, we hired those extra cops the same way we've done for years in Uptown (wink, wink).

"When there's added enforcement, people have less incentive to commit some random act," Uptown resident Brianna Vefiege said.

That gives an added sense of security to those who live in, work in and stop by Uptown.

"I really feel safe here," Devenney said. "I've lived in other cities, and for the size of this city, I think the crime is really kind of minimal."

In the past two months, there have been eight robberies in the area. The most serious was a carjacking.

"The robberies are not increasing in the Uptown area per se," Arneson said. "The robberies that we've been having have occurred on the outskirts, out in the neighborhoods late at night -- people walking by themselves. Sometimes they're intoxicated."
So as long as we don't drink in Uptown, don't walk by ourselves, don't walk around lake Harriet, don't go on the "outskirts" of Uptown (where thousands of young people live), then we should be ok. Have fun!

Rambix sent an email to the Red Star "news tip" department giving them a "heads up" on the crime story:


I understand you're looking for news tips. There has been an escalation of
violent crime in the Uptown Minneapolis area, with over 20+ robberies, many with
weapons. A man was recently given a savage beating while walking around Lake
Harriet. To my knowledge, neither of these stories have appeared in your

I hope you have the opportunity to report these imminent
public safety issues.

Another email was sent to Minneapolis mayor Ryback:


Mr. Mayor,

Uptown Minneapolis is once again awash in violent crime, and I'm afraid the word isn't getting out, and the public is at risk. In addition to the Uptown violence, a man was recently given a savage beating at Lake Harriet, and people are frightened.

Can you tell me what steps you're taking to alert the public and interdict the crime? I appreciate your attention to this important issue.


There have been no replies to date. If replies are received, they will be posted. Rambix encourages you to contact local officials so that the word can get out.

Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving everyone.