SHSU in top ten for safe schools

While some students find themselves a bit on edge after learning that Huntsville is home to nearly 9,000 prisoners from all over the state of Texas, others feel confident that Sam Houston State University remains a safe and secure campus.

“I think that it’s safe here because it feels like we have more security in place because the prison is so close to us,” said Terry Thomas, a senior broadcast journalism major.

Ollen Hoasey, a sophomore English major agrees, “I am not worried about a prison break because prisoners are not trying to stick around [the university area].”

It is easy to see why one would feel that way especially since Huntsville is home to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Now, the Daily Beast, a New York-based news website has compiled a list of list of 25 universities they have determined as the “safest colleges”. Sam Houston State University has secured the 10th spot, followed by two other Texas universities: Texas A&M (No. 24) and Texas Woman’s University (No. 25).

The Web site based its list on analysis of crime statistics that occurred on and near the campuses that are reported annually to the U.S. Department of Education as required by the Clery Act.

These crime statistics included murder, assault, sexual offenses, and robberies for the two most recent years of data.

“To be fair, even the numbers reported to the Department of Education are frequently criticized as imperfect and, indeed, schools are regularly fined for noncompliance,” the article said, “Additionally, in determining our methodology, we made numerous fair-minded but necessarily subjective decisions.”

Not included were universities with enrollments of fewer than 6,000 students, graduate only, two-year schools, and commuter colleges.

Of the 25 on the list, only five are larger than SHSU in terms of student population. SHSU’s population is listed as 16,496.

“[This list] is a reflection of the hard work performed by officers of this department, and the support of our University community,” said University Police Department Director Chief Kevin Morris.

While University Police do experience their fare share of crime on campus, they are most concerned with property crime.

Morris suggests that students continue to be aware of their surroundings and contact their department at 936-294-1794 if they observe any criminal activity or suspicious behavior.

The University Police Department also urges students to take advantage of their property registration program now located on their website. This program will ensure that UPD has the serial number of any property that they have so that if it gets stolen, they can enter it in a state-wide database of stolen goods.

“This way if an officer ever comes across that property, we can get it returned to the owner and hopefully prosecute the person who had taken it,” said Deputy Chief James Fitch.

UPD is also in the process of establishing a reporting system in which they can get out information to students, faculty, staff, and parents in non-threatening emergency situations.

“We already use KatSafe for emergency notifications, but we wanted to get other information out to all parties that is relevant to their safety,” Fitch said.

“I am excited about being named the 10th safest school; however, we are not going to just rest on our laurels. I want our department and our officers to strive to be number one. Safety of all students, faculty, and staff is our main focus,” Fitch added.

The Daily Beast also composed a list of 25 universities with the biggest crime problems.

Both lists can be found at

To check out SHSU’s crime statistics please visit

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