MINNEAPOLIS -- This is the last weekend of a pilot program near the University of Minnesota campus that was designed to deter crime. Barricades went up on two blocks in the heart of Dinkytown -- on 14th Ave. SE and 5th St. SE -- every Thursday at 4p.m. through Sunday at 10 a.m.
These barricades created pedestrian-only areas. Campus safety hoped they would see crime dip during the three-weekend trial, specifically drive-by shootings and drag racing.
Since the pilot program is still going on for one more day, the U of M is not able to provide WCCO with any crime statistics yet.
However, all the U of M students WCCO spoke with agreed that these barricades showed results.
"I think it seems to be better without people driving by," U student Makenna Forrest said.
"Shootings and muggings and some of the more severe crimes have definitely dropped," Wyatt Dombrodski, who frequents Dinkytown, said.
"I definitely prefer [the street closures]," U student Lauralyn Hoffman said.
"I do think that crime has been down in the area, but I don't think that this has been an effective way to do that," said Tessa Bulluck, a U of M Student.
Bulluck thinks this is just a band-aid solution, and wants something more reliable.
"I feel like crime could have been down better if cops were around more," said Bulluck.
Bulluck says the barricades make this area less accessible.
"It's just been difficult to get around here now, and I feel like these businesses could be struggling because people can't come through," said Bulluck.
WCCO reached out to several of the businesses on the two closed off blocks and did not get a response, but on Saturday evening it was clear that there was still foot traffic for the restaurants and bars within the barriers.
The U of M says they've also added more blue lights around campus, which immediately connects you to a 911 dispatcher.
"It's taken us to a way better place than where we were," said Dombrodski.
"I guess it worked somewhat, but I'm excited for these to be gone," said Bulluck.
The barricades are going to go away on Sunday at 10 a.m. The U of M says they do plan to collect feedback from business owners, students and neighbors.
At the end of this month, on Aug. 31, the U of M is offering a free self-defense class for students, faculty and staff. To register for this class, click here.
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