Violent crimes near UT Austin campus, students concerned about safety

University of Texas at Austin sophomores Valerie and Denise Longoria saw their phones blow up over the weekend.

"UT always sends us alerts to be careful—what happened and what time," said Valerie Longoria.

Alerts about an attack and robbery on the Drag, as well as a homicide in the entertainment district.

Around 2:30 a.m. Sunday, police found a man in his late 20s or early 30s, who was not a student, bleeding from his stomach as he walked down East 6th Street. 

Austin police said they are learning more from witnesses and security footage and believe the killing stemmed from an argument between two men, but there are still no arrests or suspects.

It’s just the latest violent incident in that area, some of which have involved UT students.

"We’ve had multiple students who’ve been robbed at gunpoint, who’ve been assaulted. So it’s been very concerning in that area. And we think personally that they should avoid that area," said SafeHorns President Joell McNew.

Valerie Longoria says she will continue to go out on East 6th, but with some conditions. 

"As long as I’m with my friends, then yeah. If I’m by myself then no," she said.

Then there’s West Campus, where a man was attacked with an umbrella and robbed of his belongings shortly after 7:30 a.m. Sunday by a suspect.

"Initially we thought it was a stabbing with a knife, and it turns out that it was with an umbrella, but it was a serious incident," said McNew.

That suspect, who SafeHorns says was a homeless man, was arrested about an hour later and was charged with aggravated robbery.

"Every time stuff like that happens, my friends and I send each other the alerts and say we can never go out by ourselves. If you ever need to go to the store always go with somebody," said Valerie Longoria.

McNew says walking in groups is key. She also recommends students carry and know how to use sound alarms and pepper spray, even a pen can help fend off an attacker. Most importantly, follow your gut.

"If it doesn’t feel right, cross the street," said McNew.

McNew would also like to see stepped up police patrols in West Campus, the most densely populated neighborhood in Austin.

"We have asked the university to come over into this area. We need more police on foot and bike patrol, and we’re begging for it," said McNew.

In the meantime, the Longoria sisters say they’re not taking any chances.

"We always carry pepper spray in our purse and stuff like that. We always go in groups, we never go by ourselves anywhere," said Denise Longoria.

SafeHorns is holding a self-defense workshop next Friday.

FOX 7 reached out to UT Police for comment and have not heard back, but they do recommend students and even parents download the Live Safe UT app to report incidents on and around campus.