ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Campus and city police forces say they're stepping up patrols and security steps around Twin Cities-area colleges in the wake of a series of brash crimes.

Several law enforcement officials told a Minnesota Senate panel on Tuesday that they're elevating their presence to try to ward off crime. Reports of sexual assaults and armed robberies have put students, staff and others on edge, particularly near the University of Minnesota's flagship campus.

Authorities have more readily used special alert systems to warn of crime trends. They've also been advising students to be more cognizant of their surroundings.

Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek says that students are being targeted by thieves because they are often carrying laptops and have phones out in the open.

No specific legislation was discussed.