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Stats show similar crime rates in twin cities

Published: Sunday, November 25, 2012

Updated: Sunday, November 25, 2012 23:11

While stereotypes and false perceptions lead some to believe Bryan is more prone to criminal activity than its sister city, College Station, officers of both cities’ police departments refute the claim and warn students of the real dangers in both areas.

Kelley McKethan, Bryan Police Department public information officer, said the two cities are fairly equivalent when it comes to criminal activity. For example, both cities have witnessed a decline in overall crime in the past year, with a 14 percent decrease in College Station and a 21 percent decrease in Bryan. Both cities have also seen an increase in crimes such as aggravated assault and rape, with similar numbers to show.

McKethan said that perceptions of Bryan being more dangerous and prone to crime are false, stating trends and statistics are analogous for the two areas.

“We’re basically sister cities with no border or wall,” McKethan said. “People from Bryan come to do criminal activity in College Station and people from College Station come to do criminal activity in Bryan. It’s pretty fair across the board with the crimes that we have.”

McKethan said because Bryan is an older community with older homes and communities, people coordinate the aging and declining areas with crime. However, she said this doesn’t make the region less safe than its neighboring city.

“I think people look at it like that because it’s an older community,” McKethan said. “Bryan has been here a lot longer than College Station, so you can look at some of our neighborhoods and see that some of them have deteriorated, not necessarily in a crime way, but aesthetically.”

Julie Jackson, junior recreation park and tourism sciences major, said she understands how Bryan and College Station are more similar in criminal activity than many perceive.

“I think it’s difficult to dissociate them,” Jackson said. “They’re right next to each other and seem like one community, so I would almost expect the crime rates to be somewhat the same.”

Rhonda Seaton of the College Station Police Department said while many blame crimes on local residents, especially those from Bryan communities, many crimes are due to external traffic and visitors to the areas.

“A lot of our violators who are committing the crimes are coming from out of town,” Seaton said. “Basically for them this is a target rich environment because college kids are going to spend their money on cool stuff like smartphones, iPads and computers.”

Seaton said being centrally located between cities such as Houston and Austin makes College Station a prime target for criminal activity.

“We’re very, very centrally located, which is good for business and the community,” Seaton said. “But it’s also good for the bad guys coming in because it’s an easy in and out for them.”

Seaton said students shouldn’t worry about location. Instead, she said students should be more aware of the situations in which they find themselves.

“The crimes can happen anywhere,” Seaton said. “We hate to compare the cities because it is so fluid. You can’t really say that you’re more likely to get assaulted in one city than the other because a lot of it depends on the people and the situations that you put yourself into.”

McKethan gave some tips and reminders for students to stay safe and avoid being victims of criminal activity such as traveling in groups and keeping belongings locked up and out of sight.

McKethan also said property crimes and sexual assaults are prominent in both areas and can be avoided through remaining cautious and careful with belongings and people.

“It’s just a matter of being vigilant,” McKethan said. “It’s making sure you’re not an easy target and that you’re being observant with your surroundings.”

Seaton said that students and community members should be less concerned about specific areas and more about overall safety, remaining smart and cautious in a still, very safe environment.


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