Texas State is lacking in security measures

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Illustration by Jaden Edison.

Carissa Liz Castillo

With the recent string of crimes in San Marcos, there should be a better safety protocol in place for students.

Within the first two months of 2019, San Marcos has seen two armed robberies near the Texas State campus. Off campus, a murder-suicide and a drug-related armed robbery turned homicide occurred within two weeks of each other. The Iconic Village fire of July 2018 that killed 5 people was ruled to be intentional and in December 2018, a stabbing incident happened during San Marcos’s Sights and Sounds event.

The crimes happening in San Marcos are not only affecting the reputation of this town, but they also bring into question whether the expansion of Texas State and San Marcos plays a role in the recent string of events. Bobcats are facing a time where Texas State’s ability to keep students safe is heavily questioned. The problem may very well lie within the rapid growth—and consequential over-growth—of San Marcos.

Hays County was recently named the fourth fastest-growing county with a population over 10,000 in the country from 2016-17, and with more people comes more possibility of crime. The bigger a city gets, the more anonymity it has. With this, the likelihood of crimes happening increases exponentiallyalongside the growing population. In fact, in recent years there has been an uptick in drug-related crimes in San Marcos and this could be associated with Hays County’s population growth.

Potential students may also be deterred from going to school at Texas State, given the frequency of crime that happens and affects students. Texas State’s UPD Campus Watch 2018 reported 2 robberies, 17 burglaries, 4 motor vehicle thefts, 21 assaults and 140 cases of theft in 2017. Of these, all of the robberies, burglaries and motor vehicle thefts occurred on campus alongside 18 of the cases of assaults and 132 of the cases of theft.

This raises the question of how Texas State students are to protect themselves from the numerous robberies, thefts and assaults faced on an almost monthly basis. Students are sent TXState Alerts to warn them of any dangerous or criminal activity happening on or near campus, but this is a reactionary protocol when there should be a proactive protocol in place.

Texas State is one, if not the main, reason that Hays County and San Marcos are growing so quickly. Since Texas State pours thousands of students into San Marcos every single year, it should strive to put pre-emptive protections in place—both on and off campus.

One way for Texas State to help students is to update and better maintain the safety measures of dorms. However, Texas State still fails in doing this as they overbooked freshmen dorms in the fall 2018 semester. Freshmen are particularly vulnerable because not only is most of their time spent on campus where a lot of the crimes occur, but for some this is the first time they are living away from their caretakers. Most are experiencing San Marcos for the very first time.

Students who couldn’t live in on-campus dorms due to Texas State’s overbooking aren’t even granted the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the town or campus. Throwing students who are unfamiliar with the terrain of San Marcos into these situations is reckless and irresponsible of Texas State.

Texas State should also partner with advertised student apartments to increase security measures since student apartments hardly ever regulate their safety protocols on their own. Many complexes advertise having gates at every entrance for added security, but these gates hardly ever work at most places. Student apartments are not as safe as they could be, especially for students who may not be too familiar with San Marcos and the surrounding communities.

While Texas State has no responsibility for students outside of campus or class, it should still strive to protect its students in all situations. When looking for potential schools to attend after high school, the frequency and number of crimes that Texas State experiences are not promising for prospective students. Texas State offers some solutions in terms of safety, but it is not nearly proactive or sufficient enough.

Carissa Liz Castillo is an English senior


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