As Police Investigate Potential Hospital Crimes, Security Staff Says Incidents Are Rare

Despite curious case involving exhuming of body, stats point to low numbers of incidents

At Abbott Northwestern Hospital in south Minneapolis, the campus is open in the daytime. But, like in many hospitals, all night-time visitors are funneled through one emergency room entrance.

Abbott security director Sue Durkin said a guard at the door asks visitors to sign in and explain why they're there, and only then do they get a visitor sticker.

Rick Huston, plant operations director at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, said women in labor or those visiting dying patients often are late-night visitors.

Special locking mechanisms, off-duty police officers and dozens of surveillance cameras are used at Regions to check late-night visitors.

At Hennepin County Medical Center, where more than 300,000 people visit clinics and hospital rooms a year, 200 close-circuit cameras are used.

"Many times, these people are in very stressful, highly charged situations and de-escalating conflicts is important," said Lappe, HCMC's safety director. "To actually have an assault or something happen to a patient is very rare."