MINNEAPOLIS - University of Minnesota students are now pleading with lawmakers after the campus area has seen 12 crime alerts since the beginning of the academic year. The incidents have ranged from armed robbery, attempted kidnapping and even rape.
The Minnesota Student Association, the U's undergraduate student government, hosted a daylong event called "Say Something about Safety." Students spent the day calling local legislators and city council officials, even writing letters asking lawmakers to take action.
"Previously what seemed like a safe thing to do is now a daily struggle and just that overarching sense of not feeling safe," said senior Yohanna Rizk, who wrote to incoming Minneapolis council member Jacob Frey.
Mike Schmit is the U of M student body president and a victim of campus crime too. His house on the edge of campus was burglarized in September.
"Everybody on campus has a story whether they know somebody who has been mugged or they are feeling unsafe on campus," said Schmit, a junior.
"They have expanded the Gopher Chauffeur, the free ride service, and the UMPD has been working overtime, but we are looking to the city now, the city and the state for their support."
Fiona Cummings, the student body vice president, wants to reach lawmakers on a personal level before a campus security hearing at the capitol Tuesday.
"It's a lot more impactful to read someone's letter and have it say, I am scared to walk home alone at night, I am scared to go to school here, than it is to present a graph of statistics," said Cummings.
The student government is rallying for more police presence and, in the long term, is asking for capital investments for street lights and security cameras.
Each letter Schmit says is the latest effort to write a safer chapter.
"There's been a lot of frustrations from students, and I think the university could be doing a better job of letting students and family and friends know what is happening at the University, what action is being taken," said Schmit.
State Senator Terri Bonoff of Minnetonka will hold a hearing about campus security Tuesday morning at 9 a.m. at the State Capitol. The DFL legislator chairs the Senate Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee. He tells KARE 11 she wants to hear from law enforcement about security, not just for the U of M but other metro schools who are dealing with crime.