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Cops begin crackdown on recent crime issues around UWM

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Spike comes at a time when MPD reports indicate crime is down

A recent surge in crime on the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee campus has prompted university officials to take action. However, the university chancellor who called for a meeting with Milwaukee’s top police officer to strategize crime fighting techniques has not yet set a definitive date or time to meet.

Over a span of three weeks, there have been 13 reported robberies that occurred in the area around UW-Milwaukee. These robberies, however, come at a time when the Milwaukee Police Department is reporting that crime near campus is down overall.

Police reports show that the robberies have been spread around the university area. Only one robbery occurred in the area over the three-week crime span that lasted from the final week of October until Nov. 12. District One MPD Capt. Patrick Mitchell said the robberies have occurred at a combination of streets and businesses.

The large increase in crime is alarming to police and university officials alike. At a press briefing earlier this month, Mitchell said MPD has increased patrol levels in the area surrounding UWM in response to the crime surge.

The robberies have occurred in an area bordered by East Edgewood Avenue to the north, East North Avenue to the south, North Lake Drive to the east, and the Milwaukee River to the west.

“Fear goes hand in hand with these spikes,” Mitchell said. “It always goes up during a spike. That’s why we’re here in force, to try and reduce those levels of fear.”

The number of robberies occurring on campus caught particular attention after two armed robberies and an attempted armed robbery all occurred within about 40 minutes earlier this month. This triggered UWM Chancellor Carlos Santiago to send an e-mail about the spike to the university’s students. The previous week, Santiago requested to meet with Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn to discuss crime-fighting efforts and community safety.

According to a UWM spokesperson, Santiago and Flynn have not yet set a definitive meeting time. The spokesperson claimed Santiago was unavailable to meet with Flynn because he was out of the country attending an international water conference in Tel Aviv, Israel.

In a more immediate response to recent crime, UWM police expanded their patrols of the neighborhoods close to campus.

MPD’s District One station has expanded its presence in the UWM area, Mitchell said. District One consists of the patrol zone comprised primarily of the city’s downtown and east side.

According to UWM’s police Web site, many of the robberies have been solved. On Nov. 7, two robberies were reported in the Village of Shorewood during a 20-minute span about nine blocks apart. UWM police said the two suspects involved in the robberies were quickly apprehended with the assistance of several police forces.

According to the site, one suspect was taken into custody after Shorewood police officers apprehended him while he boarded a bus at Cramer Street and Capitol Drive. The second suspect ran from the bus, but was taken into custody a short time later. Whitefish Bay, Glendale and UWM police officers all worked together to track down the suspect.

The suspects were identified as juveniles and were referred to the Milwaukee County Children’s Center.

Although the recent statistics have uncovered an increase in robberies, police statistics also show that crime in the area close to UWM’s campus is down by about 7.3 percent since the school year began, compared to the same period last year.

At Marquette, changes in crime trends have been less dramatic. Although the campus has experienced small spurts of crime, Marquette has never experienced a surge of crime like the one at UWM, said Capt. Russ Shaw, associate director of Marquette’s Department of Public Safety.

According to Shaw, the manpower and technology DPS has been given has prevented any such crime surges from happening. Currently DPS has 90 officers — 47 of whom are armed — and 457 surveillance cameras to protect Marquette’s 11,689 students. Meanwhile, UWM police have only 43 police officers and just over 70 surveillance cameras to protect its more than 29,000 students.

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