Several Sam Houston State University departments have come together to help lower the larceny and theft rates on campus.
There has been a decline in the number of thefts on campus over the past five years.
Number of reported thefts have dropped by 38 percent since 2009. In that year 136 reports were filed; 95 in 2010; 90 in 2011; and 84 in 2012, according to University Police Department records.
UPD Chief Kevin Morris said the number of incidents of thievery have continued to fall in 2013, which is expected to have the largest percent decrease of the past five years. As of Sept. 19 there have been a total of 42 reports, if trends continue, the year can be expected to end with only 56 incidents, a 33 percent drop from 2012.
Several different factors have caused this dip in crime, Morris said. New UPD programs, increased interdepartmental communication between UPD and IT, and the increased vigilance of officers, he said, have all caused the reduction in numbers.
“Hopefully what we’re doing is effective,” Morris said. “We try to be as proactive as we can without becoming overly [involved]. We want the students to be as free as possible and [we] try not to create a police state.”
UPD has launched an initiative to convince more victims and witnesses of any type of crime to report incidents that occur on-campus. Individuals are also allowed to make reports anonymously.
“A lot of people don’t want to be ‘that’ person,” Morris said. “We have really been pushing for [an increase in] anonymous reporting of all types of crimes.”
There have also been advancements in the IT and Residence Life communication efforts.
“Since 2008 and 2009 we have put more of an emphasis on working with residence life,” Morris said. “[They] put in cameras in all of the dorm buildings.”
This along with the enhanced lines of communication and IT’s policy of conveying all reported thefts to UPD have made it so that reporting is no longer a “hodge podge”.
“IT emails us on all incidents that get reported to them.” Morris said.
Morris also said the property registration program UPD provides has also increased civilian vigilance and the return rates of stolen items.
“Property registration is how we can identify that an item belongs to you,” Morris said. “Say your Xbox is stolen and we find it. Having that manufacturer’s number or serial number on record is how we know that it belongs to you and you can get your stuff back.”
He said the best ways to prevent being a victim of theft is to keep belongings out of sight when leaving them alone, don’t create the temptation, and don’t leave it alone for long.
“Quite a few students will step away for a moment to do an activity and when they return their device is gone,” Morris said.
He said UPD will be keeping vigilant and try to maintain the decline in thefts and that a large part of the decrease in this type of crime is “due to faculty, staff and students taking an active role in the community.”