Criminal trespass violations up on UT campus

UT police say trespassing on campus has doubled recently.

Police are becoming more of a fixture along the drag. Students Rachel Disler and Lauren Porter say there's a need for it.

"It's definitely an eye sore I guess I would say to see all the graffiti increasing. It looks trashy all the time and it smells really bad," said Disler.

"We'll be out walking and like someone will come up and ask you for money and then you say like 'no sorry' and they just start getting mad and defensive," said Porter.

Porter says one of her friends was recently assaulted, "The guy keeps going up closer to him and grabbing his shirt and a bunch of other guys had to grab him away it was really scary."

UT police and Austin police who share patrol responsibilities report disorderly conduct has increased lately along with the homeless population. Service groups say 60 homeless individuals lived along Guadalupe last summer. Now, that number is estimated at 120.

This past weekend, police saw evidence the crime has spilled over onto campus.

Captain Gonzalo Gonzalez says his officers saw an unusually high amount of criminal trespass calls over the weekend. According to the daily Campus Watch report, officers wrote four warnings and arrested three people.

The majority were in and around the union which is a student center.

Another person activated a police help call box which automatically summons officers. When officers arrived the person was not in need of help. They say that person got in trouble to activating the same call box for no reason once before.

"From June till now the warnings have gone up slightly, but the arrests have doubled from last year," said Gonzalez.

Gonzalez says if people are arrested, that means they've been caught before.

The department is working with APD, city leaders and homeless help groups to develop plans to make students feel safer.

"There definitely could be more measures taken to make students feel safe," said Porter.

Homeless advocates say the usual homeless population along the drag is those ages 18-24.  The population increase involves those over that age range. There is no one reason why they've taken up residency there.