University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler pledged Tuesday to increase police patrols following a rash of robberies and assaults on and near campus, including an armed robbery attempt in a classroom building Monday that left students shaken.
Kaler announced the new security measures in a campuswide letter in which he said he’s angry and frustrated about the crimes, which he called “troubling and disturbing.”
On Monday, a man approached a woman in Anderson Hall and showed her a gun before demanding her laptop and then fleeing. He remained at large Tuesday.
Kaler said he met last week with the chiefs of the University of Minnesota and Minneapolis Police Departments to talk about ways to enhance campus security. He said he is asking Vice President for University Services Pam Wheelock and U Police Chief Greg Hestness to provide funds to cover overtime for additional foot and bike patrols, coordinate with the city police patrols and work to enhance the Gopher Chauffeur escort program.
Long-term strategies include adding more security cameras and improved building security that will define what spaces are fully public, U community only or restricted access, as well as how to better monitor and control openness of buildings.
“Unfortunately, this may inconvenience some, but it will add to our security,” he wrote.
U police have issued nine crime alerts since Aug. 1 covering a total of 14 robberies, many of them involving armed robbers. The police have had some success, arresting three suspects following a spree of robberies on Halloween night. Two of the suspects were identified by victims as being among a group of males who assaulted and robbed several students at 1:20 a.m. Nov. 1 near the intersection of 6th Street and 14th Avenue SE.