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Talk it out: Is San Marcos safe?

Talk it out: Is San Marcos safe?

September 30, 2019

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San Marcos remains a safe place to live

There has been an increase in crime reports within the past year, creating concern in the community about whether San Marcos is still safe. However, believing safety is ever fully guaranteed is ignorant. The simple act of driving a car is the most dangerous activity a human being performs, yet thousands of people drive every day. San Marcos is still relatively safe.

The City of San Marcos is inhabited by over 63,000 residents. The population has continuously grown year after year and does not seem to be stopping or slowing anytime soon. The current freshman class broke records and became the largest group of students Texas State has ever received. The students who choose San Marcos as their new home did so with the impression it was a safe and dependable city to live in; they were not wrong.

Earlier this year, there were five homicides reported, devastating the San Marcos community. People can never really anticipate danger unless, of course, it is foreseen. Society can only be prepared for what could come. However, to question the safety within the city because of such acts is premature. The majority of the homicide cases were interpersonal; the victim and the attacker knew each other in some way.

Although crime rates in the area have seen a spike, the question of safety in San Marcos should not be of concern. Safety should be questioned when acts of unmotivated evil and chaos are committed continuously. This is not to say San Marcos does not experience its fair share of crime, but no one should panic over high-profile, news-making crimes; this is inevitable anywhere, as long as people have media access.

The chances of falling victim to violent crime in San Marcos is 1 in 284 in comparison to the state of Texas, which is 1 in 228. Ironically, as crime increases, so do security and resources. In fact, The San Marcos Police Department is generously staffed with 158 full-time law enforcement employees and has taken serious action as the state of the city evolves. The current SMPD staff is the largest it has ever been.

After several rape incidents were reported last semester, the city police worked to find the suspect quickly and efficiently. Law enforcement officials were constantly releasing updates and sketches to keep the community informed.

Additionally, Texas State provides several outlets for students to feel safer while on campus. Emergency call boxes are located around campus to directly connect students to UPD once the blue button is pressed. TXState Alertssystem was created so students receive a text when there is an emergency in the city or on campus. Resources are limitless when it comes to student safety.

San Marcos is not unsafe, but the reality is crime is inevitable. Sociologist Emile Durkheim theorizes crime is necessary because it affirms social boundaries and pushes society toward necessary evolution. A high crime rate is concerning and unwanted, but again, crime is unavoidable in any decently sized city.

No real solution exists to prevent the slight paranoia felt when pumping gas at the convenience store on the corner or the inclination to double-check dead bolts are locked on the front door before going to bed. However, this is likely due to the negativity bias, where bad things are amplified and the good is ignored so it seems like crime happens around the clock. However, this is human nature and does not reflect reality.

San Marcos is nearly in the middle of Austin and San Antonio, so it is a busy, ever-growing city acclimating to what soon could be overpopulation. Understandably, the concern for safety will continue to be in conversation as crime reports further increase and become publicized.

San Marcos remains a safe and reliable place to build a family, pursue a college education or float the river. The community and student body should work together to keep the charisma of the city alive, not promote negativity and diminish its charm.

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San Marcos no longer a safe city to reside

San Marcos is known for its charm and local fun for families, students and passersby. The community is close and continuously thrives as residents from San Antonio, Austin and surrounding areas visit for school or activities. However, San Marcos is no longer the small town safe community it once was. The crime rate has gone up, threatening the safety of residents.

In 2019 alone, there have been burglaries, a murder-suicide and sexual assaults. With crimes happening seemingly one after the other, it begs the question of security in San Marcos. According to the San Marcos Police Department, there have been 76 violent crimes and 150 property crimes through April, both expected to exceed previous yearly highs. As the population continues to increase, so do crime rates, making San Marcos less of a worry-free campus.

With the fall semester freshly started, a string of incidents has already occurred back-to-back. Just before the semester began, a man was arrested Aug. 23 for a string of armed robberies at The Cedar Apartments.

The week prior to the fall semester, a homicide occurred at Veterans Park Aug. 24, five minutes by car from campus. Several days later, a SWAT team was called Aug. 27 after a terrorist threat, theft and attempted kidnapping suspect was held up on the 700 block of Bishop Street. The suspect was captured but left a sense of unease as students were returning to their homes away from home.

Student apartments are ahead of the elderly when it comes to being targeted for burglary, since student living tends to provide opportunities for thieves. Most student-living apartments do not come with quality security systems—if anything besides a basic house lock.

A series of rapes and aggravated assaults occurred in a short amount of time between late April and early May 2019 in three different student apartment complexes. The suspects lived in the same off-campus housing, which shows how easily a student can fall victim to crime. On the peak is the Iconic Village apartment fire; the suspect has yet to be caught, leaving the community of San Marcos reeling.

The threat to safety is not solely from off-campus housing but can be felt on campus as well. In 2018, white supremacist business cards were found on campus. This type of propaganda is nothing new since in 2017, a white supremacist banner was strewn across Alkek Library.

In May 2019, a fight broke out after a protest on campus left four students arrested after reports of a conservative group called the Texas Nomads were coming to campus. Such threats can be common on college campuses, but the weight of the potential danger plays a greater role when over half ofenrolled students are minorities.

San Marcos no longer feels safe. It does not feel safe to walk around the city at night; it does not feel safe in an apartment. There should be no doubt violent crime is on the rise, which demands more attention to protect the student population and locals. With the freshmen class growing each year, the problem is likely to expand as well.

College towns all have ups and downs, but San Marcos is visibly losing its charm, which can turn students away, or worse, students are more likely to come in harm’s way.

An influx of students is making San Marcos their home for the next few years or more, meaning there needs to be additional protection services to compensate for this increase. Students must become more aware as this trend only seems to be intensifying as the years go on.

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