SHSU Experiences Break-In, Theft Spike

Since the beginning of the spring 2017 semester, there has been a spike in vehicle break ins, theft and robbery and a notification with safety and prevention tips was posted on the SHSU KatSafe webpage on Feb. 2.

The most recent SHSU KatSafe alerted to a robbery on-campus.

The posting read: An officer was dispatched to Estill Hall, 16th Street, in reference to a robbery report in front of Estill Hall. The initial report was that the suspect vehicle fled the scene eastbound on 16th Street in an older model blue pickup truck. The victim stated she noticed an older model blue in color pickup truck pull up behind her, blocking her in. She was approached quickly by two males, one demanded she give him all of her cash. The two male suspects then re-entered the blue pickup truck and fled the scene eastbound on 16th Street. The victim observed three males inside of the suspect vehicle, one which was the driver who remained in the vehicle during the robbery. The victim does wish to pursue criminal charges. The robbery is under investigation.

Before the robbery, SHSU KatSafe had repeated alerts of vehicle break ins and theft.

The previous postings read: “SHSU and the community is experiencing an increase in vehicle thefts and burglaries involving older model Ford F-250 and older Model Dodge trucks with similar build, or fitting as the F250. Please continue to lock vehicles while unattended and take appropriate anti-theft steps such as parking in well-lit, high traffic areas.”

Director of Emergency Preparedness and Safety David Yebra explained this was not an imminent threat to SHSU students, which is why the information was put on the website rather than sent to all KatSafe participants.

“We had a week where we had three different vehicle break-ins in the Huntsville community concerning a particular style of vehicle that we wanted people to know about,” Yebra said. “It had to do with bigger trucks, so we put it on KatSafe to assure that people are taking proper steps to secure their vehicles.”

Yebra recommends not only conscious parking, but basic things like locking doors and refraining from leaving things in plain sight so not to tempt burglars, and to make the investigation process easier.

“I think what’s most important for students to know is that when we came back to the semester, there were additional considerations that we want our students to be aware of,” Yebra said. “There have been cases where there isn’t evidence of a break in because people are used to leaving doors open with possessions in plain view where someone could take something. It’s basic steps everyone is familiar with, it’s just to remind everybody sometimes.”

If you are witnessing, or are in mid-experience of a vehicle break-in or theft, call either 911, or the UPD at 936-294-1000. Yebra recommends never intervening as the situation could easily become overwhelming, or possibly fatal.

Yebra believes students will be comforted to know the after-math protocols are the same whether UPD or HPD is called.

“The UPD does normal investigation procedures such as taking photographs, fingerprinting, interviews, filing reports, and then hopefully recovering possessions, or vehicles that were taken,” Yebra said.

Yebra feels passionately about community safety and preparedness because he realizes the emotional trauma that may come with a break in or theft.

“I think we’re human beings and you replay the incidents in your mind, wondering if you took all the appropriate steps to prevent it from happening,” Yebra said. “I think we’ve all been in a situation where we’ve regretted and reflected on what we could’ve done, and it’s also just the fact that someone was handling your property, and had to power to affect how we feel about our private spaces.”

KatSafe is a campus-wide notification system that can update the SHSU community through emails, texts, social media posts, desktop alerts, and outdoor warning systems. The most convenient form is through KatSafe guidebook found in the SHSU app.

To receive KatSafe alerts, verify your emergency contact communication information on your MySam account. Then, add a phone number and email, ensuring the “voice and text” option is on. If you have opted out of KatSafe updates, text “Subscribe Katsafe” to 23177, and then text “Subscribe Katsafe” to 53291 to opt back in.

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