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October 26, 2014

How the University of Minnesota is tightening campus security

As of Monday, there will be an added layer of security in off-hours at buildings on the University of Minnesota’s West Bank. In response to a string of high-profile robberies, including some in campus buildings, the Minnesota Daily reports that access to buildings on that part of campus will be tightened.

On Saturday, University Vice President Pam Wheelock sent an email to students, faculty and staff announcing the start of the Building Access Pilot Program, launched in response to the rise in crime this school year.

The security shift will now require U Cards for access to seven buildings during specific hours. Access during regular business hours is unchanged and anyone can go into the buildings. But in the early morning (6 -7 a.m.), and late evening (7-10 p.m.), only those with a U Card will be able to enter. From 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., the buildings will be closed to everyone except those with special permission.

Last week, MPR News reported that Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau announced the immediate addition of seven more officers to patrol the 2nd Precinct. That precinct covers the Como, Prospect Park and Marcy-Holmes neighborhoods around the University of Minnesota, where some of the crimes have been committed.

The police expansion comes after a fall semester that saw an uptick in the number of robberies in the area. The university issued the highest number of crime alerts in six years, and campus safety was reviewed at a legislative hearing and by the university’s Board of Regents.

The most recent incidents were reported in early January. Campus police say they stopped a robbery of a young man and arrested two suspects north of Dinkytown on New Year’s Eve. In the other incident, a U of M student was attacked on the street in Dinkytown. He told police the attacker knocked him to the ground, said he had a gun and punched him in the face. Two accomplices tried to take his wallet, but were unsuccessful, police said.