UT Moov-In Day includes advice on safety

The annual dash from car to dorm at UT is a lesson in logistics. But for parents, like Juan and Yesica Hernandez, helping their oldest daughter start her freshman year in college is also an emotional time.

"We've been dreading it ... but we are excited for her,” said Juan Hernandez.

The Hernandez's say they were aware of the murder of Haruka Weiser, which happened on campus last spring. They've also seen all the media coverage about the new and controversial campus carry gun policy. It made them second guess their decision to come to Austin.

"We were really hesitant, we really wanted her, we are from Houston, we really wanted her to go to U of H because for the same reason  ... but this is what she wanted to do."

To address concerns, Friday morning at a campus coffee shop UT police invited parents, students, faculty and staff to come in and have a chat. Those wanting to know more about the gun policy were told it only applies to a small number of students who have a permit. Where they can and cannot go has been clearly marked. As for violent crime UT police officer Mike Murphy, who organized the coffee talk, told me, they are now working specific campus beats in order to spot potential problems.

"For example I work in this area where we are standing now, and I’ve gotten to know the building managers, the people that work and go to school here, so the idea is I’m here every day, it’s my responsibility as a patrol officer to check the area look for safety concerns and make sure they are addressed by the appropriate person,” said Officer Murphy.

Students are also moving in, off campus, and that has the Austin Police Department talking about safety.

"We want to do vehicle safety, personal safety, and apartment living safety,” said Officer Justin Cummings.

Representatives from APD will spend the next few days at a southeast Austin apartment complex, near Riverside and Pleasant Valley. They' will also be at another complex on Oltorf. Both locations market to local college students.

"They might come from a small town where they're not use to locking up their doors, or closing their blinds at night, but we live in a big city, and we have to be cautious about our surroundings,” said Cummings.

The advice being offered may sound simple but not following it can make one a target for crime.  According to APD crime stats, in the area around the SE Austin apartments 65% of residential break-ins last year happened because doors and windows were unlocked.

Side Note:

University officials are reporting the largest incoming freshman class they've ever had; approximately 8,500.

Enrollment at UT continues to be around 51,000 students.

With an additional 15,000 faculty and staff members, MoovIn Day is like relocating the towns of Lockhart and Georgetown  onto the 40 acres, in one day.

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