Campus crime continues over break

Wynne Davis

Although thousands of students left campus over winter break, UTPD stayed active because crime never takes a vacation. The most common offenses reported by UTPD were criminal trespassing, public intoxication and bike theft. 

During the five-week break from classes, UT police officers responded to multiple in-progress bicycle thefts and recovered additional stolen bicycles. Other thefts that occurred included thefts of laptop computers left unattended on University property, as well as University-owned computers that were not locked properly in rooms on campus. Here are some of the highlights and trends of winter break crime:

Jan. 1, officers were alerted about a bicycle theft that took place at the Perry-Castañeda Library. The bike was recovered after they found a non-UT subject riding the bike off campus. 

Jan. 7, a non-UT subject was found pulling on bicycles parked outside of the Winship Drama Building.

Jan. 12, bed sheets, a comforter and clothes were reported missing from a laundry room inside San Jacinto Residence Hall.

Officers also responded to a report of missing bacon on Jan. 13, after two boxes of bacon and sausages were stolen from a storage room in the O’Donnell Jr. Building. 

UTPD officers found non-UT subjects in the Jester Academic Center and other university buildings over break and cited them for criminal trespassing. The majority of criminal trespassing offenses happened between the hours of 12 a.m. and 8 a.m. The officers wrote most subjects criminal trespass warnings but took some subjects with prior warnings into custody. 

In one incident, police sent a group of six high school students back to school when they were found skipping class. 

Traffic violators were also issued tickets for driving while intoxicated, driving without a valid driver’s license and driving without insurance. In emails sent to faculty, staff and students, UTPD said it is promoting the city’s new ordinance prohibiting the use of handheld cell phones while driving. The ordinance applies to both drivers and bicyclists, although UTPD officers will not enforce it on campus.

Police also alerted the UT community to a number of email scams that targeted university students, faculty and staff by capturing their employee login information and then making changes to route their paycheck money to the scam artist’s bank account instead. UTPD has not reported any scam cases involving UT students, faculty or staff.