MINNEAPOLIS — Dinkytown has been in the news quite a bit lately.
With the latest shooting that left five people injured last week, Jennifer French said she got concerned for her son who is going to be a sophomore this year.
"I realized that these are happening closer and closer to where my son's apartment is going to be in the fall," French said. "And I knew there was a Facebook group and I noticed there was a lot of discussion on that Facebook group about everyone's concerns."
French said a lot of the parents are worried. Especially those who don't live in Minneapolis or Minnesota.
"The thing that was most upsetting was that it's a lot of out of state parents too that are bringing their kids here, and they have a bad taste in their mouth about Minneapolis," French explained. "And I love Minneapolis, and I love Minnesota, and I feel like if we can get a hold of what's going on on campus and everyone knows that their children are safe, that reflects better on our state in our cities. I don't want to hear about 'murderapolis,' I don't want to hear about people from Illinois scared to send their kids here."
In light of the shootings on Friday, University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel sent out a letter to faculty, staff, students and families.
In it, she detailed immediate and long-term plans including an increase in Minneapolis Police Department presence during the late night hours. The University also said it will be providing overtime to University of Minnesota Police officers to patrol Dinkytown and the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood.
UMPD Chief Matt Clark said he's happy about the announcement.
"I think it would be helpful any time there's increased visibility and anytime there's ability for us to monitor situations that does affect the levels of crime usually in that area," Chief Clark said.
When asked about what he thinks about concerns some folks may have about an increased police presence on campus, he said he is willing to listen to the community he serves.
"Well, my job is to provide public safety on campus with the resources we have," he said. "The university makes a big investment in public safety, that's with cameras, access, officers, security personnel. My job is to run the department of public safety. I'm going to continue to do that with resources given by the university to make it as safe as possible. At the same time, I recognize that you have to listen to your campus community and all members of it, and there are different voices on campus on the levels of safety that they feel should have on campus."
As for French, she said she's aware of the arguments against having more police. However, she said at this point, she's just appreciating the transparency from the school's response and explanation.
"I guess I think I'm more of being open and being open to discussing it with parents, and being transparent is big," French said. "Like I had talked about--I just want to make sure that everyone knows what's going on and if it doesn't work then we're at the table able to discuss what are we able to do next."
According to crime statistics provided by the University of Minnesota Police Department, violent crimes are down.
From January to the end of May in 2019, they saw 298 incidents. They saw 125 in the same period last year in 2020. This year, that number is back up slightly to 151.
The numbers within Minneapolis Police jurisdiction tell a different story, however. In the neighborhoods encompassing "University of Minnesota" near campus and Marcy-Holmes, MPD data shows 96 violent crimes so far this year – compared to just 40 this time last year.
Holly May, the parent of a U of M senior from Milwaukee, said she's concerned but hopes the school's new initiatives will work.
"If you've got more crime, and it's escalating, and it's escalating with guns, it's frightening," May said. "I think the shooting this past weekend changed things for the administration."
EARLIER COVERAGE: 5 injured in Dinkytown, Minneapolis shooting