Accuracy delays campus crime reports
The UH Department of Public Safety is focused on a reoccurring issue in campus, burglaries and theft.
On-campus car thefts and burglaries were at their highest in 2006 and 2007, according to the official 2008 police report filed by the campus police station. During 2006, there were 35 car thefts reported, and in 2007, 63 burglaries were documented. Reports are not up to date, but students do get e-mail and text message alerts.
“Identifying crime trends is a tricky thing. There are many factors to consider besides the numbers of reported crimes,” UH Police Lt. Bret Collier said. “The lag in data availability is to ensure that what we are reporting is both comprehensive and accurate.”
Collier said the 2009 reports would be posted in a couple of months.
Crime rates in major metropolitan areas such as city of Houston tends to be higher than that of smaller cities and towns. However, in a recent article by the Houston Chronicle, it states that crime has diminished 8 percent.
The UH Department of Public Safety website states students should learn the locations of the emergency and information call boxes.
Call boxes connect directly to the police department on campus in case of need of police aid, the escort system or help with a defunct car. The escort system is a free service for students, staff and faculty members.
The security escort program is available 24 hours a day year round.
The UHDPS has 44 commissioned police officers as well as 36 security officers patrolling and posted in areas across campus.
“Recently, the university dedicated additional resources to the (UHDPS), so that some of the concerns that we share with the University community can be addressed. Both dorm security and increased visibility will be major parts of this new initiative,” Collier said. “This is what we see is the best way to make our campus less attractive to these criminals.”
Collier said students should stay cautious, regardless of a lower crime rate.
“As a university at the center of a major metropolitan area, we face some fairly unique challenges. Although we maintain a significantly lower rate of crime than the surrounding area, we recognize that this is an accomplishment, but not an endgame,” Collier said.
“In any free society, crime can never be completely eliminated in any practical sense, but we are not deterred in our dedication to the safety and security of our students. Our department shares the concerns of our community and will provide every possible avenue that we can for a safe and productive college experience.”