Monday, October 02, 2006

Violent Crime Surges At University Of Minnesota

Fox 9 News has reported on the staggering increase of assaults and violent crime at or near the University of Minnesota. According to Fox 9, assaults were up 113% in August, and 32% in September.

Is it reasonable to assume that even a 1% increase is unacceptable?

Heather Mueller of the Minnesota Daily interviewed University of Minnesota president Bruininks regarding the violence: "Bruininks talks crime, stadium".

With double the number of assaults this year compared to last, what would you say to students who fear that walking in groups on well-lit streets isn't enough to ward off robberies or assaults?

This issue has come up rather suddenly, but I think it's a very serious issue for the University of Minnesota and our students.

I have taken up this issue with Vice President (Kathy) O'Brien and Chief (Greg) Hestnessvof the UMPD and they are meeting regularly with the Minneapolis police force to strengthen the coordination of our efforts on behalf of our students and on behalf of creating a much safer environment in and around the University of Minnesota.

Secondly, we are going to … steadily increase the size of our own police force and our own security; we're improving lighting in important areas on campus.

I think the other thing I would say is that I think we live in a relatively safe environment and what's alarming is to see these rates go up.

We need to meet with the neighborhoods relatively soon and the neighborhood leaders to see what we can do collectively.

We understand we have to work hard to increase the safety and the comfort level of our staff and students. You can't study well and you can't learn well if you're not in a healthy and safe environment. I want to indicate we have a pretty aggressive action agenda, including thinking about how the University can be more engaged and developed.

I want to add I think it's very important that students use good judgment, and when they do travel late at night they do seek safe ways to travel.

Is the University's administration monitoring the progress of the assault investigations?

Yes, we are. The Office of General Counsel, the University police department works collaboratively with the Hennepin County Prosecutors office (and other agencies).
How about referring them to Andrew Rothman, who just put on a self-defense display at the university?

And how is that collaboration with the Hennepin County prosecutor's office going?

The University of Minnesota has been sucked into the Minneapolis Quagmire - who will accept responsibility, and who will lead the fight against the enemy?