Police statistics indicate fences decreasing crime

Although construction of new fences around campus has decreased the number of vehicle burglaries in many parking lots, according to TCU Police data, additional methods are being implemented in other areas where crime remains frequent. TCU Police statistics indicate that fences on campus have made parking lots safer, significantly decreasing the total number of vehicle burglaries, yet crime in certain areas is consistently high.

Fences around the formerly higher-crime area of Worth Hills have made access harder for thieves and there has been a drastic decline in burglaries since construction, said TCU Police Sgt. Kelly Ham.

During the 2005-2006 school year, there were 10 burglaries of vehicles in Worth Hills, according to TCU Police crime statistics.

A fence along Berry Street was completed during the fall semester, and two incidents of burglary have been reported this academic year in both lots closest to the football stadium, which will soon also be fenced in, Ham said.

He said the fences are effective because “crooks don’t like to be bottled in.”

“We can trap them, and that’s exactly what’s happened,” Ham said. “That’s why we’ve been able to make so many arrests in there and in the other parking lots.”

TCU Police have arrested nine separate groups during the 2006-2007 school year that were related to burglary of a motor vehicle, Ham said.

Gates across the Cantey Street exit have made it easier for TCU Police to arrest suspects in the freshman lot.

“If we get a call that there’s somebody snooping around in there, all the officers have to do is block Frog Alley and then send another car in there,” Ham said. “And they’re either going to have to abandon their vehicle and run on foot – make it a foot chase – or we’ve got them.”

Despite the increase in arrests, police statistics do not show a decline in the number of burglaries of vehicles in the freshman and overflow parking lots when compared to the previous year.

During the 2005-2006 academic year, 17 thefts occurred in the two lots, and 18 burglaries have been reported since August 2006.

TCU Police will install several cameras during Spring Break to monitor the license plates of cars entering parking lots around the coliseum and football stadium, which will assist in apprehending suspects, Ham said.

Mikey Bernick, a junior accounting and finance major, lives in Tomlinson Hall in Worth Hills.

Although he believes burglaries have decreased because of the fences, he said he wishes residents had access through the gate at the Berry Street entrance.

“It’s just annoying when you are trying to get home,” said Bernick, the president of Kappa Sigma. “I like the fence idea, but the gate I don’t agree with.”

Chari Perkins, the head resident assistant of Wiggins Hall, said that TCU Police informed her on several occasions last year when residents’ vehicles were burglarized.

She said she does not know of any Wiggins Hall residents who have been burglarized this year.

“I feel that crime has definitely gone down,” said Perkins, a senior marketing major. “Driving around is a change to get used to, but to me it isn’t a big deal.”

In addition to other security measures, fences have been installed around several new parking lots, such as the one on Sandage Avenue.

Ham said the university is trying to make all parking lots “very difficult for the bad guys to get in there and do something they shouldn’t.”

“When you work for a police department for a university, you’re constantly fighting that battle between access for the students and security for the students,” Ham said. “You want the students to have easy access, but you don’t want the bad guys to. So you’ve got to have that fine balance.