Texas State UPD Calls For More Awareness Following Increase in On-Campus Incidents

Texas State UPD are urging students and staff to be more mindful of their surroundings following a recent increase in on-campus rapes, hate crimes, and other offenses.

Data from the 2023 Security and Fire Safety Report shows that Texas State University has seen a 137.5% increase in reported rape cases, a 200% increase in hate crimes, a 100% increase in motor vehicle theft, and a 71.43% increase in aggravated assault. Students may continue to experience higher crime rates on the San Marcos campus with the opening of new dorms that will raise the number of students living on campus from more than 7,000 to nearly 9,000 based on the number of beds each new building will have.

One factor that is contributing to the increase in incidents being reported on campus is the crimes of opportunity that are taking place within residence halls and among the freshman population. Texas State UPD lieutenant Sue Taylor has seen the results of what can happen when thousands of freshmen begin living on their own for the first time at the beginning of the semester.

“You have people who have never been away from home. They have never not lived with their parent’s rules,” said Texas State Lieutenant Sue Taylor. “So now they get to figure out what rules they want to keep and what rules they’re just going to toss out.”

Underage drinking, illegal drug use, and burglaries are some of the most common crimes of opportunity reported on Texas State campus. Breaking laws such as these can quickly lead to felony charges and disciplinary measures such as mandatory university-approved counseling and expulsion.

The locations where crime has been the most consistent are areas near Bexar Hall, Sewell Park, and The Square. These are places near campus where students visit frequently, which is why the push for heightened awareness is taking priority by the University and UPD. Knowing what to do in case of an emergency or witnessing an act of crime can be as simple as calling the police or sharing locations with friends on a night out.

Texas State Junior Nathan Trejo is one of the many students on campus who walk to their classes and other outings in the area. A night out with friends on the Square is one prime example of where crime can happen at any time.

“We always make sure to stay together as a group to just avoid not losing anybody in case their phone dies and we can’t track them at the end of the night,” Texas State student Nathan Trejo said. “Also having everyone’s location and knowing ‘oh they’re at this bar’ and ‘oh here’s this person’ helps us find them if they aren’t answering their phone.”

Downtown San Marcos saw 10 reported crime incidents between February and April 2024 that included incidents like DWI, Sexual Assault, and the burglary of a building. Should any staff or student find themselves in a situation where they are unable to use their cell phone to contact the police, the emergency call boxes on campus will be able to connect them directly to UPD.

The number of students being admitted to the university is another big factor that is believed to be contributing to the high crime rates the university has seen since 2020. While most of the student population at Texas State does not live directly on campus, apartments in surrounding areas close to the university create a demographic that is mixed with many different people from different backgrounds and make it easier for crimes to occur.

One possible solution that may lead to lower rates of crime is the university lowering the number of students that are admitted each semester. Former Texas State UPD officer John Simpkins worked at the university in the period following the COVID-19 pandemic and saw the difference an increased population had on crime rates.

“Just in my year and a half that I worked there I can say that the population of the university, especially the freshman class, definitely increased just within those four semesters that I was there,” said former UPD officer John Simpkins. “In seeing that increase it definitely had an increase in crime as well.”

Texas State shows no signs of slowing down in growth as the university set multiple enrollment records in the spring of 2024. Should statistics like this continue to rise, students should consider that their chances of being victims of various crimes may increase as well.

If students or staff wish to learn more about how to become safer on campus or keep track of daily crime reports, they can visit the University Police Department’s website. Downloading Bobcat Guardian, signing up for TXState Alerts, and knowing where to go to file a police report can save students stress as the university expands to welcome more students.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *