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State Senate committee to look at campus safety issues

Recent incidents at the University of Minnesota have led to increased police presence.

A state Senate committee will hold a hearing next week to look at student safety after recent high-profile incidents at the University of Minnesota.

The state Senate Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee will hold a hearing Dec. 10 “to provide a public forum to hear from public safety officials,” said the announcement from committee chair Sen. Terri Bonoff’s office.

“We know that numerous law enforcement agencies are working in tandem to ensure the safety of our students and communities on and around Metro area campuses,” Bonoff said in a statement. “This hearing is an opportunity for all of them to come together and share their efforts with the public.”

Students have begun an online petition asking for more police presence after reports in the past few weeks of an attempted robbery on the U of M campus, a sexual assault and an attempted kidnapping near campus. University police have increased patrols following 17 reported robberies in the area since Aug. 1.

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The state Senate hearing is designed, Bonoff’s office said, to “bring everyone working on the issue of public safety together to hear about the various precautionary measures and programs in the Metro area. Out of this hearing, the Senate committee hopes to learn best practices in crime prevention, if there are any obstacles or barriers facing law enforcement agencies efforts in dealing with crime on and around campuses, and lastly, if there is anything that’s needed to aid in these efforts.”

The Dec. 10 hearing, billed as a “Higher Education Metro Campus Safety Update,” will be at 9 a.m. in Room 15 at the Capitol.