Tobin Lofts crime spikes in 2015

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A San Antonio police officer drives by the front of Tobin Lofts Sept. 10 on Main Ave. Tobin has seen an increase of burglaries, thefts, assaults and public intoxication incidents in the past eight months. Photo by E. David Guel

A San Antonio police officer drives by the front of Tobin Lofts Sept. 10 on Main Ave. Tobin has seen an increase of burglaries, thefts, assaults and public intoxication incidents in the past eight months. Photo by E. David Guel

Reported crime trending down at other campuses.

By Kyle R. Cotton

kcotton11@student.alamo.edu

Tobin Lofts has already seen as many crimes reported in slightly more than eight months of 2015 as were reported in all of 2014.

Through Sept. 8, 44 reported crimes had occurred at Tobin and the Tobin parking garage, according to weekly crime reports emailed to students and employees by district police. The 2014 crime statistics are from the district police’s uniform crime reporting statistics, which are available by request.

2015 crimes are 10 drunk and public intoxication incidents, eight burglaries, six thefts, five assaults, three drug possessions, three trespassing incidents and three counts of disorderly conduct.

Tobin Lofts consists of an apartment complex and parking garage at 1415 N. Main Ave. on this campus. It was built as a public-private partnership with this college and the NRP Group, LLC.

Tobin Lofts is the only property among those on Alamo Colleges’ 10 campuses with an increase in the crime rate in 2014 to this point in 2015.

Deputy Chief Joe Curiel said Wednesday he was unsure why Tobin Lofts has experienced more crime, but he guessed it could have something to do with Luther’s Café, which sells liquor, being on this campus in the retail segment of the Tobin complex, or the Tobin garage being open to the public at night.

Curiel said district police would need to look further into Tobin to determine the cause.

President Robert Vela said Tobin Lofts is difficult to police because not all students at Tobin Lofts fall under the district’s code of conduct.

Lisa Belalcazar, resident director at Tobin Lofts, said she could not provide the number of residents who are students at this college for privacy reasons, even though Raven Duron, leasing manager at Tobin Lofts, had previously revealed students at college make up 50 percent of residents.

However, Belalcazar said that the Lofts are at capacity, but she would not say how many students live there. Residents have to be enrolled at a local college or university.

“One of our students could report to our police that a crime has been committed there, but if the student is from, say, UIW, there isn’t much we can do about it because they fall out of our jurisdiction, since they don’t fall  under our conduct policy,” Vela said.

Tobin Lofts leads the district in assaults, trespassing and disorderly conduct with this college being right behind it. Other crime reported for 2015 at this college include 19 burglaries, 23 thefts, 11 incidents of vandalism, 10 incidents of public intoxication, four drug possessions, two trespassing incidents and one incident of disorderly conduct.

For other campuses crime has being going down in comparison to the 2014 Cleary Report, which accounts for all reported crime 2011-2013, and Curiel expects the trend to continue with 2014 when the 2015 Cleary Report comes out Oct. 1.

This annual report is required by the Cleary Act, which is part of Title 9, which prohibits discrimination based on sex and gender identification for higher education.

Police Chief Don Adams and Curiel credit the decline to the police department’s WIGs, or wildly important goal, they set each year and their increased presence at the colleges.

The WIGs, come from Covey’s “Four Disciplines of Execution,” which is an accountability system required of all district employees.

“We believe one of the reasons is we’ve increased our presence within all campuses in terms of trying to make it a better and safer environment for faculty and staff,” Curiel said

“This is thanks to increased walkthroughs through the buildings, engaging with the community, with students — visiting with them, eating lunch with them — and just being more exposed to our community,” Curiel said.

This has included expanding social media presence through Facebook, Twitter and the department’s website.

However, many of the trends by crime type have maintained themselves from year to year despite the overall downward trend.

San Antonio College and Tobin Lofts accounts for 40-60 percent of all crimes reported in the district, with crimes of opportunity, such as burglary and theft, being the most commonly reported.

This trend isn’t unusual, since this college has the largest student population and an open campus, Curiel said.

“With the higher population, there is more opportunity for crime,” Curiel said.

are the crimes of opportunity that we try to stress as preventable,” Curiel said

“On all campuses, we have laptops, iPads, bicycles, backpacks, phones and vehicles as targets of opportunity,” Curiel said.

“People come here on campus just looking for targets of opportunity where they will see a valuable item exposed,” Curiel said.

“We try our best to walk the parking lots, and when we do see something like that, we use a CPR (a crime prevention reminder), to remind people that valuables visible outside your car can become a crime of opportunity,” Curiel said.

The best way to prevent crimes of opportunity is to refrain from leaving items lying around unattended and basic awareness of an individual’s property and environment, Curiel said.

He said since the other campuses are larger and more isolated from their surrounding neighborhoods, there is less opportunity for criminal activity.

The nightlife in the area creates a unique challenge, as well as this campus’ downtown location, Deputy Chief Joe Pabon said.

Pabon said people tend to wander over while intoxicated and when that happens, the campus police offer them a phone call to hail a ride or to sit in the San Antonio College’s DPS sober unit until they are well enough to drive.

“As long as they aren’t driving under the influence, we’ve done our part,” Pabon said.

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4 Comments

  1. Tallahassee Tim on

    These crimes are just growing pains for a vibrant new area. Most of the reported crimes are pretty typical for a college. San Antonio College is growing rapidly and the surrounding area is responding well to the expansion. Main Street looks better than I have ever seen it before. My hope is that SAC grows into a university and the surrounding area continues to modernize and expand. The administration will hopefully continue pursuing the San Pedro Park sky bridge project. The expansion of the school, the development of the park and the reemergence of business in the area is going to be great for the future of SAC and San Antonio’s local economy. RANT OVER

  2. Tallahassee Tim on

    What an amazing time to be a SAC student or graduate. We are in the midst of a transition, friends. Tobin Lofts, planetarium, EcoCentre, etc. all added within three or four semesters. University of San Antonio (USA) coming soon!

  3. Good article-

    Could probably have been improved with some interviews.

    Are these crime statistics reliable? What is the occupancy rate of Tobin in ’15 vs ’14?

    Since private profit is now on campus, should there be private security?

  4. keep up the good work at the ranger.i was surprised that there were no rape, aggravated sexual assault, nor suicide statistics cited in the story.stats that many college institutions want kept hush hush.
    perhaps there needs to be a common code of conduct for loft residents-behave yourself students,your adults now and expected to act accordingly,responsibly,and a common security/law enforcement that simply sends the report to the various campuses when infractions of degree that would cause an expulsion would be sent in to the appropriate department. you’re not children anymore. less affluent youth wind up in adult prison for bad conduct.don’t ruin the rest of your life for 1 nite of fun.

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