Crime in a college town is, unfortunately, nothing new for most people. However, Huntsville may have experienced a minor increase in theft over the past few months.
Since January 2018, the Sam Houston State University Police Department (UPD) and the Huntsville Police Department (HPD) have noticed a trend of individuals making unforced entry into residences during day and night-time hours.
Four burglaries have been reported during daytime hours at SHSU on-campus housing, in which the residences appeared to be unlocked. Personal property was determined to be stolen from these homes.
According to Public Information Officer for Public Safety Services David Yebra, the perpetrators continue adjusting and changing their tactics when they see opportunities.
“We see burglaries rise when we return to school from the summer or the holidays or when we become complacent leaving doors unlocked and high-value items in plain view,” Yebra said. “We just have to keep in mind those who commit these crimes are also looking for ways to steal and for areas where we are vulnerable.”
Most recently, HPD took a report from an apartment complex in the area where a female awoke in the middle of the night to discover an unknown male in her bedroom. It is undetermined whether property was stolen.
“Last year, the trend involved burglary of motor vehicles in residence hall parking lots and surrounding apartment complexes,” Yebra said. “Recent burglaries involve the theft of video game systems and components—items that can be quickly moved for profit.”
According to Associate Director of Communications at SHSU Emily Binetti, students should remember to utilize the university’s Property Registration System.
“[The system] allows you to register any item of value that you may have on campus, in your vehicle or at home, such as laptops, bicycles, IPODs, phones, televisions and car stereos,” Binetti said.
It is important for students to remain vigilant at all times—especially in unfamiliar locations.
“Keep high-value items out of plain view when traveling in a vehicle, or in places where others you don’t know can observe,” Yebra said. “The perpetrators do their best to blend in and look like they belong.”
The university encourages students to lock their residences while away and during the night-time hours. Students should not bypass security systems in place by allowing people to enter locations without proper authorization or credentials.
If any suspicious activity is observed on campus, students are encouraged to contact the University Police Department at 936-294-1800 for non-emergencies or 936-294-1000 for emergencies. For off-campus reports, contact the Huntsville Police Department at 936-435-8001, or call 9-1-1 for emergencies.