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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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UPD releases 2021 Annual Security Report

Texas+A%26amp%3BM+University+Police+Department+is+located+in+Texas+A%26amp%3BM+Research+Park+and+is+open+24+hours+a+day%2C+seven+days+a+week+and+holidays.
Photo by Photo by Josh Sozio

Texas A&M University Police Department is located in Texas A&M Research Park and is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and holidays.

Texas A&M continues to see the trend of motor vehicle theft on campus — just not the kind most people have in mind.

The Annual Security Report for 2021 has officially been released by the University Police Department, or UPD. The report covers crime statistics for calendar year 2020, presenting definitions and important emergency contacts regarding safety on campus. UPD Lt. Bobby Richardson said COVID-19 was the primary reason for a slight decrease in reported crimes, including overall motor vehicle thefts.

“The numbers in 2019 and 2020 were very similar with a slightly lower number reported in 2020 … that is probably due to COVID[-19],” Richardson said. “In 2020 there were 21 [motor vehicle thefts] and in 2019 there were 33, we actually saw a decline in those.” 

Richardson said within the motor vehicle thefts the report shows an increase in golf cart theft, specifically, which occurred the previous year as well. 

“A big rash of [the cases was] people taking golf carts and driving them somewhere else and leaving them,” Richardson said. “Seven golf carts were stolen in 2019 [and] in 2020 there were 13. The golf carts [played a role in] the big numbers for motor vehicle theft.”

In 2020, there were a total of three arson crimes reported, a rise from zero in the previous years. Richardson said two took place on campus. 

“The statistics for 2020 are a result of two cases,” Richardson said. “One was for criminal mischief in the dorms, and another one was someone [with] a campfire in a location not designed for a fire.”

Additionally, the report shows an increase in aggravated assaults, from three reported in 2019 to 13 in 2020.  

“Most of [the aggravated assault cases] occurred in our private-public partnership housing,” Richardson said. 

P3s, or public-private partnerships are agreements that allow private companies to lease Texas A&M University land for a specified time. Park West is an example of a public-private partnership, Richardson said. Since families unaffiliated with A&M live in these areas, he said the number is not strictly limited to students.    

“You’ll have families living there which will bring in your domestic violence … it’s not just a dorm full of college students,” Richardson said.   

To prevent these crimes, Richardson said the department advises students to always be aware of their surroundings, as students often are easily distracted with cell phones or computers and do not notice what is occurring around them. 

“If something does not feel right, then it probably isn’t,” Richardson said. “If you’re not paying attention to your surroundings, your instincts won’t work correctly. Be aware of your surroundings, trust your instincts and report any suspicious activity to the police immediately.”  

Additionally, Richardson said UPD urges students to speak up if they witness any suspicious activity — even if it seems small at the time. 

“From the crime alert, we will have people call us and say, ‘Hey, I saw that person, or I saw something weird the other day,’” Richardson said. “We wish they would have called us when they saw it.”

Students can take precautionary measures by locking up their property, including their vehicles and homes, Richardson said. He also encourages students to take advantage of the safety resources on campus such as the Corps Escort program and blue light phones around campus. 

“We have a lot of resources at the university and at the police department, if they are a victim of a crime then we can assist them,” Richardson said. 

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