Off Campus Living

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Safety


Gopher Watch - a safety watch program created by the Office for Off-Campus Living

We have found that many students have different conceptions about safety in the off-campus community. In response, our office has decided to launch monthly safety reports - with some help from the local police and community partners. Each month’s safety report is split into three different sections:

  • The crime statistics table
    • A table of values showcasing the number of crimes in the nearby off-campus community
  • The crime highlight
    • One crime or a series of crimes which we decided to highlight in more detail for the community - based on its severity.
  • Other safety information & prevention tips
    • Other safety information gathered from the Second Precinct Advisory Committee, community organization newsletters, community meetings & other credible information that comes to our attention - along with some tips on how to prevent this crime in the future

The goal of this project is to carefully & responsibly spread awareness about crime to the local community. Remember, however, that our office is not a law enforcement agency or a news agency - as such, we may not be able to be as specific or detailed as those organizations can be.

The safety report will be available below as well as in our newsletter. We cover the following neighborhoods:

  • Marcy-Holmes (including Dinkytown)
  • Prospect Park (including most of Stadium Village)
  • Southeast Como
  • Cedar-Riverside

Thank you for staying informed!

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Gopher Watch Safety Report

Gopherwatch Monthly Safety Report: August 2020

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Crime Highlights:

  • A driveby shooting and robbery had taken place near campus just outside of the month of July, on the early morning hours of August 1st. Five male suspects, ages 14 to 16, robbed the victims at gunpoint near 26th Ave. S and 7th St. S, before fleeing on foot toward Riverside Park at approximately 2 a.m.
    • Another victim was shot in a drive-by shooting near the intersection of 4th Street Southeast and 12th Avenue Southeast at around midnight on August 3rd.
  • Although burglaries have stayed consistently low (in comparison to other crimes) near campus, it has been said that most burglaries that happen in SE Minneapolis are unforced, meaning a criminal enters a home, garage, or building from an unlocked window or door.
    • With this being said, door and window security, as well as crime prevention through environmental design are more important than ever. Check with your landlord to see ways on how you may prevent certain burglaries or break-ins.

Safety Notes:

  • Overall crime in the neighborhoods have decreased slightly, however theft in all neighborhoods has increased, especially in Prospect Park where it has doubled from last month. So please remember to travel light, meaning try not to bring valuables with you as you are walking around campus. Be as vigilant as possible because of the increased theft and if needed walk with a friend.
  • If you see any suspicious activity especially now that campus is starting to fill with people because school is starting, do not hesitate to push the blue buttons and panic alarms around campus in emergency situations. Call the police (911) if you witness any suspicious or illegal activity, and make sure you are not alone if confronted by such behavior.
    • MPD, in cooperation with UMNPD and MPRB-PD will be making saturation patrols in the dimmed areas of Marcy-Holmes, but they are urging students to “Stay alert, be aware of your surroundings, and walk with friends”.
    • Please note that calling 911 directs you to MPD and UMPD, and should be the only phone number you will need to use in order to get yourself in safe measures within a timely manner.

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Data Collection and Crime Definitions

Crime Definitions

Aggravated Assault: An attack or attempted attack with a weapon, regardless of whether an injury occurred, and an attack without a weapon when serious injury results.

Burglary: Unlawful or forcible entry or attempted entry of a residence. This crime usually, but not always, involves theft. The illegal entry may be by force (e.g., breaking a window or slashing a screen) or may be without force (e.g., entering through an unlocked door or an open window). As long as the person entering has no legal right to be present in the structure, a burglary has occurred. Furthermore, the structure need not be the house itself for a burglary to take place; illegal entry of a garage, shed, or any other structure on the premises also constitutes household burglary.

Burglary from a Motor Vehicle: The unlawful entry into an automobile, truck, motorcycle, or any other motorized vehicle legally allowed on public roads and highways to commit or attempt to commit a felony or theft.

Homicide: Homicide is either (1) Intentionally causing the death of another person without extreme provocation or legal justification or (2) causing the death of another while committing or attempting to commit another crime.

Theft of a Motor Vehicle: Stealing or unauthorized taking of a motor vehicle, including attempted thefts. Including all cases where automobiles are taken by persons not having lawful access even though the vehicles are later abandoned— including joyriding.

Robbery: Completed or attempted theft, directly from a person, of property or cash by force or threat of force, with or without a weapon, and with or without injury.

Sexual Assault: A wide range of victimizations, separate from rape or attempted rape. These crimes include attacks or attempted attacks generally involving actual or attempted sexual contact without affirmative consent between victim and offender. Sexual assaults may or may not involve force and include such things as grabbing or fondling. Sexual assault also includes verbal threats, regardless if the threat is carried out.

Theft: Completed or attempted theft of property or cash without personal contact. Incidents involving theft of property from within the sample household are classified as theft if the offender has a legal right to be in the house (e.g., a maid, delivery person, or guest). If the offender has no legal right to be in the house, the incident is classified as a burglary.

All crime definitions were taken directly from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the United States' primary source for criminal justice statistics website and modified slightly for clarity.

How We Collect Crime Data

With a proper understanding of the definitions we are using for crimes, here are some tips on interpreting the data:

  • Be aware of noise in the data. Be careful when looking for trends in the data, especially on a month-to-month basis. Try to look for long-term trends in crimes rather than short term trends.
  • We are not here to tell you if an area is “safe” or not. Safety watch groups can have the unintended consequence of stigmatizing areas as “unsafe”. Creating that type of stigma will be avoided at all costs within these reports. As such, you can expect us to stick pretty close to the facts & avoid gross overgeneralizations & editorialization.
  • Just because you see a “0” listed doesn’t mean there was “0” crimes committed. Oftentimes, crimes go unreported. When we list a list a zero in the crime table, we are simply saying we do not have any of those crimes in that neighborhood on-record.
  • Our data is accurate - well, as accurate as it can be. The data we use for our crime statistics is manually pulled from the Minneapolis Police Crime Maps. As such, some statistics may be plus or minus a few crimes due to manual recording error. Furthermore, there could be unknown errors with the recording system. In essence, we are trying our best to provide the most accurate information possible

If you have any other…

  • Questions about our methodology
  • Questions about our statistics
  • Or other issues & complaints

Feel free to let us know!
Phone: 612-626-5213
Email: ocl@umn.edu

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General Safety Tips and How to Report Crimes

Safety Tips

- Hide Your Valuables
Keep your laptop, purse, wallet, briefcase, etc. attended or out of sight.
- Walk ‘Cheaply’
Carry the minimum amount of valuables
- Activate Your Phone
Be sure your phone's location services is activated, so police can attempt to recover it if stolen.
- Walk Aware
If walking alone, avoid distractions—phones, ear buds, etc.
- Walk Safe
Walk in groups and choose well lit routes.
- Lock the Door
Lock your living and work areas every time you leave and when you are home too.
- Keep Doors Closed
Do not prop open entrances to buildings.
- See the Blue
Note the campus’s 21 blue emergency phones, which connect you with the UMPD at the touch of a button.
- Enter Alone
Don’t let strangers ‘tailgate’ behind you into your building.
- Write It Down
Write down your bike’s serial number for matching in case of theft.
- Keep Your Bike Lit
Park your bike in a well-traveled, well-lit area.

(all safety tips provided are SAFE U safety tips. For more click here)

Reporting Crime-Who Should I call?

If you are in the vicinity of an emergency, do not hesitate to call 9-1-1.
This the most important thing to know. If someone's safety is in danger or you think it is, call 911. When in doubt, call 911. Be ready to provide your current location and a suspect description if necessary.

But if you are in a non emergency situation, you can contact:

  • University of Minnesota Police
    • Check out their new & improved website at publicsafety.umn.edu
    • Call 624-WALK if you would like to request the campus safe walk service
    • Call Gopher Chauffeur at (612)388-6911
    • Check out the UMPD’s daily crime log https://publicsafety.umn.edu/home/dailycrimelog
  • Minneapolis Police:
    • Submit an online police report: Submit a report for incidents like theft, lost property, or damage to property. One can also use the Minneapolis 311 App to submit a report.
    • Call 311 or 612-673-3000 for non-emergencies that do not require a police response
    • Send an anonymous tip
      Call the Tip Line at (612) 692-TIPS (8477) with information about a crime.
    • All crime reporting advice is from the Minneapolis police department. For more tips click here.
  • St. Paul Police:

Other great safety resources can be…

  • The Minnesota Daily (along with other local news outlets)
  • Community organization newsletters
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Campus Specific Safety Prevention Tips

When traveling or vacationing away from home:

  • Tell a trusted neighbor how long you’ll be gone and where you can be reached. Ask them to check your house every day and call 911 if they observe anyone/anything suspicious while you are away.
  • Leave lights and radios or televisions on timers or ask your neighbor to switch them on and off periodically.
  • Ask a neighbor to park their car in your driveway to make it appear someone is home.
  • Arrange to have your grass cut or sidewalks shoveled while away
  • Have your US postal mail held at the post office.
  • Ask a neighbor to pick up any newspapers or items left on your door steps.

Auto-theft prevention:

  • Always lock your car. This includes if you are only leaving for a few minutes or in your garage.
  • Park in well lit areas where possible.
  • Don’t leave your car running even for a few minutes or in the cold unattended.
  • Set your car alarm always.
  • Never leave your keys in your car.
  • Don’t leave valuables in your car ( not even loose change).
  • Use a wheel lock.
  • Watch for suspicious activity.
  • Install a vehicle tracking system.

Bike-theft prevention:

  • Always bring your bike inside at night. It may be a hassle to lug it up a flight of stairs, but many bikes are stolen at night because there are fewer eyes and ears around to deter thieves.
  • Use a high quality security lock ( it should have gold solid secure rating).
  • Park your bike in well lit areas.
  • Try not to park in the same place each day
  • Be wary of cable locks, which are easily chopped with wire cutters. They might be enough to deter passing thieves and opportunists, but they are ineffective against seasoned thieves.
  • Two or three locks (even cables) are better than one. The more difficult you can make it look to steal your bike, the less a thief will want to hassle with it.
  • Never lock your bike to a tree. Not only can it damage the tree, but any tree that’s small enough to fit a U-lock is small enough for thieves to cut through quickly.
  • Don’t forget to lock your wheels and your saddle. Quick releases and hex bolts make it easy for thieves to snatch these components.
  • Lock up your bikes even inside your garage, and be sure they are locked to some fixed point like a pipe or rafter.
  • Keep a file on all of your bikes that includes receipts, serial numbers, and photos. And register each bike in a nationwide database like the National Bike Registry or here(you can register all personal property this way!) so it can be returned to you if it’s ever stolen and recovered.
  • Consider investing in a GPS tracking device.
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Archive of Safety Reports and other Resources

Resources

University Resources

  • UMPD Resources: Provides resources on Active shooter situations, Alcohol Abuse and some basic campus safety tips
  • Aurora Center Handouts: Provides resources on sexual assault, relationship violence, and stalking for educational purposes.
  • Safe-U emergency notifications: Provides information on the Safe-U's emergency notification service that contacts all university students, employees and faculty
  • Safe Campus website brings together different departments safety info in one convenient place for U students
  • University Emergency Plans: Provides the university's current emergency plans

Minneapolis Police Department(MPD) Resources

St. Paul Police Department (SPPD) Resources

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