University officials offer safety training in the wake of violent assaults

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After an increase in assaults in the neighborhoods closest to the University, community associations and police are offering safety training.

After a month in which reported assaults more than doubled from the same period last year, police are increasing their focus on crime prevention.

The Minneapolis Police Department is sponsoring a free personal safety workshop Oct. 2 in the Van Cleve Park Community Center.

The event will feature self-defense expert Mary Brandl and cover such topics as personal safety and self defense.

Carol Oosterhuis, a community crime specialist for the Minneapolis police department, said anyone is welcome at the event.

“I would recommend that anyone attend the workshop; it’s a good workshop for individuals who want to prevent being a victim of crime,” Oosterhuis said.

Safety services
The University and the University Police Department both offer safety services.

University police provide an escort service for people who do not want to walk on campus alone at night.

The University’s department of recreation offers a class on the Rape Aggression Defense System. The class educates women on things to be aware of as well as hands-on defense training.

Steve Johnson, deputy chief of University police, offered some suggestions to prevent crime in the University area.

“(Students) should be aware of their surroundings and use the escort service whenever possible,” he said.

Johnson said the department was doing all that it could in response to the uptick in crime, with officers logging overtime and responding to Minneapolis calls.

Johnson emphasized the importance of reporting crime.

“If the report happens right away, we have a better chance of catching someone or collecting evidence or locating witnesses,” he said.

Electrical engineering senior Dane Mcfarlane said daylight hours are safer around the University.

“I feel safe on campus,” he said, “but at night I get a little more nervous. (Assaults) make me walk faster,” he said.

Assaults up 113 percent
Minneapolis’ 2nd Precinct, which includes the University, saw a 113 percent increase in reported assaults in August from the same period last year, according to police figures.

>> A fraternity member was assaulted Sunday after asking a group of eight to 10 men to not walk through the yard of Chi Psi at 15th and University Avenues. The men refused to walk around and a confrontation ensued when the victim was punched in the face.

>> Saturday, a man was leaving a store at 14th Avenue and 5th Street when another man asked him for money. He refused to give any and was punched in the face.

>> A man was riding his bike Sept. 11 near Emerald Street and Franklin Avenue Southeast about 3 p.m. Two men stopped him with a car and punched him in the face.

>> A group of 10 to 15 men assaulted a student Sept. 9. The group approached the victim and asked about a party. He suffered a broken jaw after being pushed to the ground and kicked.

Benjamin Sodetani, a first-year Minneapolis Community and Technical College student, witnessed the assault on his friend, who he’s known since third grade.

“(He) was lying on the ground of the parking lot; he was conscious but didn’t know what was going on,” Sodetani said.

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