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Advocates to file petition next week to improve safety on UT's West Campus

With this petition, they hope to increase police presence around West Campus. They also hope to increase lighting and the number of call boxes in the area.

AUSTIN, Texas — Recent shootings and other crimes are putting West Campus in the spotlight.

However, this isn't something new to the area. Areas surrounding the University of Texas have seen an increase in crime since 2019. 

University of Texas sophomore Kate Chiapetta has felt the heavy increase in crimes around campus. But once you step on UT territory, it's a whole different story. 

"I feel like West Campus is kind of a bubble, which is really good, and I feel pretty safe here," Chiapetta said.

However, that all depends on the time of day. 

"Sometimes like when I'm walking alone at night, it feels a little bit unsafe," said Chiapetta. 

Thousands of UT students live in that area and feel the same way. 

Safe Horns – a group of alumni, parents, and community members that advocate for safety around campus – have been working to help address this issue. 

The group's president, Joell McNew, said there's been an almost 40% increase in aggravated assaults. 

"We have had an increase in more serious crimes happening in the West Campus corridor," said McNew. "This has been something that we've been working to improve the safety there."

The group created a petition asking the City to help them make changes in the area. 

"We want cameras in the community," added McNew. "We want the lighting to be addressed. We would like to see blue light call boxes throughout that area."

With this petition, they hope to increase police presence around West Campus. They're planning on presenting this petition to some city leaders in the coming days.

Despite the safety concern, McNew told KVUE some students are pushing back against this petition because they want other solutions that don't involve the police.

After a series of shootings last week, UT police have stepped up efforts. 

They've increased staffing and will continue communication efforts through the LiveSafe app, where they can report any on- and off-campus situations. 


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