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Armed robbery attempt near campus as safety hearings open

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The University of Minnesota released another crime alert after an attempted robbery in a neighborhood adjacent to campus.

FOX 9 reported that a woman was scraping her car's windshield near the intersection of 13th Avenue and 8th Street on Sunday afternoon when a man demanded money, showing a handgun. When her boyfriend came to the sidewalk, the suspect fled. Police were unable to locate the suspect.

In light of the recent crime spree, the Associated Press reports the Senate Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee will hold a Tuesday hearing in St. Paul. Law enforcement officials and representatives from private and public colleges in the Twin Cities are set to testify. The hearing is informational and no specific legislation is due to be discussed.

Meanwhile, the Minnesota Daily looked at the impact that the rash crime alerts and violent incidents have had on prospective students. Since the beginning of fall semester, the university has sent out alerts for 20 crimes, including two sexual assaults, an attempted kidnapping and several armed robberies.

Associate Vice Provost of Enrollment Management and Director of Admissions Rachelle Hernandez said tour guides have noticed more concern about campus crime.

“We’re sharing with families the number of hours being put into additional [police] patrol; we’re sharing with families the kinds of proactive messages that go out to students,” Hernandez said. “Our goal is to be transparent.”

Statistically, campus area crime has been dropping in recent years. Most of the crimes triggering alerts this semester have occurred in one of the four Minneapolis neighborhoods surrounding the University. City Councilman Cam Gordon, who represents three of the neighborhoods, said he’s fielded calls from parents wondering whether their children should have moved off campus.

Dinkytown Rentals owner Tim Harmsen worries crime will scare off renters. One group of renters backed out of their lease for a property near Marcy Park, Harmsen said, after they researched the area and saw that the crime rate was higher than they expected.

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