The number of crime alert emails sent out this past semester has been a popular topic among students, spawning the hashtag #TexasCrimeUniversity and even an unofficial twitter account.
Sophomore nursing major Natalie Byrd said she never really worried about crime around campus until a recent homicide investigation occurred at the GrandMarc Apartments, where she resides.
“They didn’t really give us any information,” she said.
Byrd said officials told residents of the GrandMarc that they were safe, but that with multiple emails being sent out containing different information and police swarming around the building, it did not really feel that way.
“It just would have just been nice to know what was going on since I live here,” she said.
Sgt. Kelly Ham of the TCU Police Department said the university takes the messages very seriously.
The university is required by the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act to report crimes in a public crime log and to send out campus crime alerts for any ongoing threat to the student body and its surrounding community, Ham said.
“The law is pretty vague about what we have to include in the crime alerts sent out,” Ham said.
Ham said he coordinates with the Office of Communication and with Campus Life when sending out sensitive emails.
“We always try to follow the spirit of the law. We try to get the students enough information for them to know there is a perceived danger, but we limit that information so we do not interfere with an investigation that is ongoing,” Ham said.
Lisa Albert, Director of Strategic Communications, said the university goes above and beyond what they are required to share in the crime alerts because they care about students’ safety.
“We also take this opportunity to remind students about helpful [safety] tips,” Albert said.
Senior nursing major Wendy Weathers lives on University Drive, only a few houses down from campus. She said she has mixed feelings about the usefulness of crime alerts.
Weathers said most of the crime alert emails she receives deal with sexual assault and other things on campus, but that she is more worried about the crime in her neighborhood.
“Although those things are obviously important to know about, I’m more concerned about things that would directly affect me and my roommates at our home,” Weathers said.
“If there were a break-in or a creepy guy walking on my street and they called the Fort Worth police, I wouldn’t necessarily know something like that happened close to me,” she said.
Ham said depending on how far from campus the crime happened and if students were involved, the TCU police will work with the Fort Worth Police Department to disseminate pertinent information to the university community.
Albert said the blue emergency light system, Froggie Five-O escorts and patrolling officers are all measures intended to keep students safe.
To anonymously report a crime, visit the TCU police website or call the crime hotline at 817-257-5833.