Universities, colleges increase security after recent crimes

By Andy Cerota - Anchor/Reporter

HOUSTON - Institutions of higher learning across the Houston area are adding new measures to keep students and faculty safe.

With last month's shooting at Lone Star College and robberies and property crimes at Rice University and the University of Houston, security is taking center stage.

"Being a woman, especially when you are on campus by yourself, it can get scary," University of Houston student Geshie Wilmot said.

Students and staff can expect to see additional lighting at the University of Houston, as well as more emergency call boxes. Parking lots and other selected areas are monitored by a network of thousand surveillance cameras 24/7.

"The key is not to be alone. We usually walk in groups, like everyone suggests and stuff. The only times it gets shady is at night," said Sarah Hinojosa, a University of Houston student.

Rice University has hired additional security for evenings and is seeing success with its bait bike program. With five arrests over the past few months, Rice is also weighing some additional security strategies addressing other crime.

"We're concerned about the potential for violent crimes, so we're always trying to do what we can to prevent that," Rice University Police Chief Johnny Whitehead said.

Texas Southern University is conducting tests of its alert system and continues to maintain a high visibility police presence at campus special events.

Houston Community College continues to improve its emergency plans annually. Sixteen training events were held across the district last year.

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