Ireland Sargent | Staff Reporter
SAN MARCOS — Crime in San Marcos has increased in comparison to data shown over previous years. According to the latest data released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in September of 2021, San Marcos was only safer than 19% of cities in the U.S. in 2020.
In recent findings derived from the San Marcos Police Department Advisory Panel, in January of 2021, there were 13 aggravated assaults reported and in the first month of 2022, there were 18. In comparison to before the pandemic, Patty Hom, Crime Analyst for the San Marcos Police Department, expressed how crime rates are doubling and tripling as the years advance.
“Typically, over the past three years, we would see about 10 aggravated assaults, then we saw 13 in 2021 and now 18 in 2022,” Hom said. “We’re doubling and tripling numbers from pre-COVID times.”
In the most recent report released from the FBI, there were a total of 1,756 crimes reported in 2020; statistics showed 283 violent crimes and 1,419 property crimes representing theft-related incidents.
According to the Advisory Panel, the San Marcos Police Department has faced staffing issues for over 10 years now, resulting in an insufficient number of officers to attend to crimes. San Marcos Police Chief Stan Standridge expressed the difficulty staffing issues have caused for the police department.
“We have as many as 25% of our workforce out, meaning they’re functionally not working because of COVID, family medical leave, or long-term injury,” Standridge said. “I’m greatly concerned because we have unprecedented crime numbers in San Marcos at a time when staffing couldn’t be worse.”
Crime has not only affected San Marcos but has been a daunting factor for students who attend Texas State University. In recent reports from the 2021 Clery Act, Texas State reported 113 safety-related incidents on or near campus or other properties affiliated with the university.
Students at the university are impacted by the ongoing crime and have had to adjust their lives to enable safer experiences. Jada Johnson, a 19-year-old student at Texas State University, said she constantly fears something may happen to her or her friends when walking around campus.
“I mean I specifically chose to live in an area that appears safer and has less crime reported,” Johnson said. “As a young woman, you have to be on the lookout to protect yourself.”
In previous years, Texas State misreported its campus crime statistics in the Clery Act which caused an ongoing investigation by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE). As part of the investigation, the DOE evaluated the university’s compliance with the Clery Act through an off-site campus crime program.
In response to the allegations, Texas State President Denise M. Trauth expressed the need for accurate reporting to enable trust among the community.
“Our guiding priorities at Texas State are the safety, security, and well-being of our university community,” Trauth said.
Misreporting has caused Texas State various challenges and renovations to the Clery Compliance Committee. For current updates on crime happening in San Marcos visit https://www.sanmarcostx.gov/511/Daily-Police-Blotter.