The Texas A&M University Police Department released the 2020 Annual Security Report for the College Station campus.
The report includes emergency numbers as well as definitions and reports of the different crimes reported during 2019. UPD Lieutenant Bobby Richardson said the biggest increase for UPD was in motor vehicle theft.
With an increase in motor vehicle theft, the 2020 security report shows a total of 29 occurrences in 2019, 28 of which occurred on campus property while one occurred at residential facilities. This is up 21 occurrences from the eight in 2018. Richardson said this increase is thought to be the result of the inclusion of motorcycles and golf carts that were stolen.
“I don’t remember the golf carts being that popular being stolen [in the past] but we had a two-week span where they were getting stolen or relocated,” Richardson said.
If students are leaving their car on campus for extended holidays, they should make sure it is secured before leaving, Communications Manager for Transportation Services Melissa Marie-Bubula said. Marie-Bubela said more tips for preventing auto theft include locking cars and setting the alarm, hiding valuables and parking in well lit areas.
Marie-Bubela also encourages students to be alert when parking and to use a buddy system if possible. Finally, Marie-Bubela advises students to keep track of vehicle information, such as their license plate number and the make and model of their car in the event that they need to report something. Richardson urged students to follow these tips to keep their cars safe and to also make sure that they were not leaving their keys in their vehicles.
“[For] almost all of our burglaries involving cars, most all of them live nine out of ten include the doors being unlocked,” Richardson said.
In 2019, there were 48 sexual assault offenses that were reported. Richardson said an increased awareness of sexual assault has led to an increase in reports.
“[With] the greater awareness of sexual assault, the programs that are out there avaliable, more reporting procedures such as online, calling the police or the Student Conduct Title IX Office,” Richardson said. “There's other avenues to report now than calling the police so I would suspect that would account for some of that [the increase of number].”
Additionally, robbery numbers have increased from zero in 2018 to five in 2019, with four reported on campus and one at a residential facility. Robbery includes a wide array of things including aggravated robbery with a firearm, which Richardson said is rare on campus. Other instances of robbery have included the involvement of domestic violence where the suspect took the victim’s property or attempted robbery where nothing was taken.
“Those cases did increase our stats but they were all kind of unique in themselves,” Richardson. “They are not what people would think of as robberies.”
With domestic violence and stalking claims, there is an increase in numbers for the report, in the 2019 year there were 87 cases of domestic violence and 334 cases of stalking. However, Richardson said the high number of stalking reports is because each individual occurrence of stalking is recorded even if it involves the same two people.
“We contribute a lot of it to awareness, getting people to report it to the police and things,” Richardson said. “I think a huge factor is in a relationship where it keeps happening over and over.”
Richardson said as the population increases, weapon carrying, possession, drug abuse and liquor law violations are assumed to be increasing. Richardson said these things are common to see in a college town, especially with the alcohol abuse cases.
“We know statistically speaking whether on campus or in the city as the population increases, typically the crime increases,” Richardson said.
As for feeling safe on campus, Richardson encourages students to be aware of their surroundings and trust their instincts. Richardson said it is important to pay attention to surroundings and to make sure they are not too tuned into their phones or earbuds to be paying attention to what is happening around them.
“The most important thing that we stress all the time is if you see something, say something,” Richardson said. “Anything you see suspicious please contact the University Police, that is what we are here for and if it turns out to be nothing that is fine but please say something.”