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The University of Minnesota (UMN) on Tuesday announced a new safety committee following a Monday meeting discussing concerns about crime on and near campus.
The Strategic Safety Advisory Committee, which will include students, parents, school staff and city representatives, will present ideas to UMN and the city of Minneapolis to improve campus safety, according to a press release.
“The University continues to invest significantly and partner with local agencies to enhance safety and deter crime. But urgent and real safety concerns demand more collaboration than ever before to find effective, layered solutions,” University President Joan Gabel said in a Tuesday statement.
“That can only be accomplished by bringing together a group like this one,” Gabel added. “It will help us examine what tools we already have or need to support our partnerships with the City of Minneapolis and Minneapolis Police Department (MPD), and how we can enhance public safety in these off-campus neighborhoods.”
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The new committee comes after approximately 200 UMN parents on Monday met with Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and Gabel, as well as chiefs from MPD and the University of Minnesota Police Department (UMNPD) to express concern with a 45% rise in violent crime near the school’s campus since 2019, KSTP reported.
“We care about this city, and we care that the students at the University are safe,” Frey said during the Monday meeting, the outlet reported. “And, it is incumbent upon us do to everything possible whether that’s lighting, technology improvements, or whether that’s expanding law enforcement, or making sure we’re working directly with our police officers to have the right patrols in the right place at the right time to strategically keep people safe.”
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Parents’ concerns were underscored by reports of shots fired on the morning of July 8 at a burrito joint located just outside UNM in Minneapolis’ Dinkytown neighborhood in an area where some students live off-campus. Officers with the Minneapolis Police Department and UMPD responded but they reported no injuries.
A video posted to TikTok also appears to show the aftermath of shots fired Friday into a residential building.
Officers recovered evidence of gunfire from the scene, which is currently listed as a “damage-to-property” report since there were no victims, the police department told Fox News Digital.
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MPD is currently handling the investigation into the incident, and officers have not made any arrests as of Tuesday afternoon.
A university watchdog Twitter account suggested that the school did not send out a safety alert — called “SAFE U” alerts — to students following the incident.
UMN said in a statement that “SAFE U Emergency Notifications are issued upon confirmation of a significant emergency or dangerous situation that poses an immediate threat to campus.”
“SAFE U Advisory Notifications are issued when a reported crime, occurring on University Clery Geography, is determined to pose a serious or on-going threat to the campus community but does not require immediate action,” a university spokesperson said.
The next day on July 10, UMN issued a safety alert after two teenage suspects committed a robbery on the 1100 block of University Avenue.
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One student’s father, Brian Peck, said during the Monday meeting that his son lived in a fraternity house on University Avenue where, early last month, more than 50 rounds were fired and a 15-year-old boy sustained gunshot wounds, the outlet reported.
“My son said after that shooting, ‘Mom and Dad, do you know every day I wake up and go to class I am scared for my life?'” Peck shared at the meeting. “I don’t know if I am going to get mugged, shot, or beaten up.”