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Dinkytown residents weigh in after road barriers removed

The barriers were part of the Dinkytown Safety and Pedestrian Access Pilot Program, to help curb recent crime.

MINNEAPOLIS — Road block barriers sit off to the side of the street in one Dinkytown neighborhood.

They've been in place near 5th Street Southeast between 13th and 14th Avenue for the past three weeks as a part of the Dinkytown Safety and Pedestrian Access Pilot Program, implemented by the University of Minnesota, and were removed Sunday morning.

"When I heard it was the last weekend, I was kind of disappointed because it definitely helped a lot," said Jack Seipel, who lives nearby.

Seipel says the barriers made the streets outside his apartment feel safer.

"In the past, I've heard gunshots from my bedroom," he said.

Mohamed Shakur commutes a short distance to this area, but says he's noticed a difference since the road blocks were put into place.

"The majority of the time it was up, it did seem like some things did back off a bit," says Shakur.

The program is one of 26 action plans implemented by the University of Minnesota to curb crime after a recent public outcry.

This comes as university leaders say police are dealing with staffing shortages. Many hope these changes will relieve some of the burden for officers to better patrol the area.

"It does kind of suck getting home at work on Thursdays, but you have to drive around the block or two, but obviously it seems like it's been working a lot," said Seipel.

Some students say the barriers should stay.  "In theory, I feel like it did work a little bit, personally," said Shakur.

Others say they're hoping for more visible police presence on the streets.

"I think there should be more cops around, patrolling around," said U of M student, Adharva Dhatingan.

Campus police will be adding more blue lights on and around campus to connect students to 911 dispatchers. 

A free self defense class is being offered to students later this month. 

The university will assess the pilot program with businesses, neighbors and officers to check if it was effective.

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