UTSA apartment communities tackle safety issues

Inaugural community safety meeting held Thursday


SAN ANTONIO – 2013 got off to a rocky start near the UTSA campus.

A string of incidents, including the murder of 18-year-old Christopher Hinojos, had students wondering how safe their community was.

Police say crime activity in and around the campus has decreased in recent months, and staff members from several student apartment communities want to keep it that way.

On Thursday, officials from American Campus Communities, which owns several apartment complexes near the university, hosted the first community safety meeting to brainstorm ideas to keep their residents safe.

Jeff Metzger, vice president of training at ACC, said one of the top priorities is resident education.

"Most crimes are preventable. A lot of the crimes that happen in the area are perpetrated by acquaintances of the victim so resident education was a big part," Metzger said. "Also, convincing residents and folks in the community to speak up when they see suspicious activity."

Officers with the San Antonio Police Department and the UTSA Police Department also attended the meeting.

UTSA Police Sergeant Geoffrey Merritt said the key to keeping crime rates down is stopping underage drinking.

"When those laws are strongly enforced then that will tend to drive down a lot of the other violent crimes that occur on campus," Merritt said.

Merritt also expressed the importance of communication between management at neighboring apartment complexes, residents, and local law enforcement.

"Information sharing is critical among all the community members," he said. "These things are definitely things that we need to work towards and work on, and I know that is a growing component and we just want to be a part of that and help however we can."

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