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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Crime

UHPD says new drivers caused September uptick in hit-and-runs


parking

According to University of Houston Police Department daily crime bulletins, a hit-and-run has occured nearly every day since Fall 2016 classes started. | File photo/The Cougar

 

At least 25 UH students have been left with damaged cars and no one to pay for repair expenses since classes started Aug. 23.

Cases of hit-and-runs have flooded UH’s daily crime bulletins but UH Media Relations said that data does not support a correlation between economy parking spaces and hit-and-runs. UHPD Chief of Staff Lt. Brett Collier said that the issue is more cars driving on campus.

In September, as many as three hit-and-runs per day were reported on the daily crime bulletins. Most reports described students returning to their cars at the end of the day to find their car damaged but no contact or insurance information from the offender.

“There needs to be a more efficient process put in to place — whether it would be cameras or an increased amount of officers — that can help regulate the increased number of cars coming in to prevent more hit and runs,” said pre-business freshman Trinity Lawrence.

According to data provided by Lt. Collier, the number of hit-and-runs have not increased significantly throughout the years despite a clear increase in number of parking spots available for students.

The term “hit-and-run” can describe a variety of car accidents and not limited to striking another vehicle. This data collectively represents the number of hit-and-runs as a whole. Most of these violations are categorized under the Texas Transportation Code § 550.024: Duty on Striking Unattended Vehicle. 

Year Number of “Hit and Runs”
2010 139
2011 142
2012 126
2013 131
2014 150
2015 166
2016 (to date) 120

Lt. Collier said the sharp increase in hit-and-runs recently reported on the crime bulletins is due to a higher number of cars being brought to campus early in the semester. 

“There are more cars on campus at the beginning of the semester than the end, and the Fall semester has more cars on campus than the Spring. More cars means more opportunity for accidents,” Collier said.

Parking and Transportation has launched several initiatives to address the issues of the growing UH community like planning a new parking garage. This will be the fifth parking garage built in the past decade, said Bob Browand, the director of Parking and Transportation Services.

Browand’s advice to students to evade involvement in hit-and-runs is to drive responsibly and safely while keeping the safety of other students in mind.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article stated that UHPD said new drivers caused the accidents. UHPD actually said that more cars on campus created a higher accident rate. It also cited Lt. Collier saying that there was no correlation between economy parking spaces and hit-and-runs. Collier made no comment on this, but UH Media Relations said that data does not support a correlation. 

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