The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU professor Susanne Scholz in the West Bank in 2018.
SMU professor to return to campus after being trapped in Gaza for 12 years
Sara Hummadi, Video Editor • May 18, 2024

Campus crime rate ‘not unusual’

With the barrel of a deadly handgun inches from her face, junior Crystal Brashears became one of several SMU students victimized during the recent concentration of high-profile crimes.

Since August, residents have reported two home-invasion robberies in University Park, two robberies near campus, one mugging at SMU and 13 auto burglaries.

Brashears was mugged in the parking lot of her apartment complex, The Bluffs, at approximately 10:30 p.m. on Oct. 4. She and junior Mandy Lewis were returning from a baby shower.

“The experience put me in an immediate state of shock,” Brashears said. “When the man confronted me, I just started praying.”

Two males, ages 16 and 18, held Brashears at gunpoint, demanding her keys and purse. Lewis witnessed the robbery but was not threatened.

“Babies were mugging me,” she said, “They looked so young.”

The 18-year-old was arrested five weeks later when Brashears’ stolen vehicle, a black 1992 Honda Civic, was spotted only blocks from her apartment. The younger man, identified by Brashears as the one using the gun, has not been found.

Brashears recalls the fear she felt and how disembodied she was. She experienced an overwhelming “flush of heat” and felt as though she was “watching from a distance.”

“The experience was absolutely surreal,” Brashears said.

Although SMU is in a low-crime area, and even though Brashears was in her gated and 24-hour patrolled apartment complex, burglaries and robberies have caused heightened concern for residents and students in the area.

The SMU Police Department has installed a surveillance camera in the Dedman 3 lot at the southeast corner of campus where the majority of the auto burglaries have occurred. The SMU PD has also “stepped up on patrols,” Capt. Michael Snellgrove said.

The SMU PD, along with the SMU News and Media Relations Office, has worked to increase student awareness of these crimes by posting campus alerts. These alerts included reminders about the two off-campus robberies and the October mugging of two students near Moody Coliseum.

Questions have been raised as to whether these cases are related. Though they occurred within a short time frame, the SMU PD has found no evidence linking the crimes.

The recent crimes have caused some change in student behavior.

First-year student Christy Dolly suggests taking advantage of the escort service.

“The officers are friendly and it’s a safe way to travel to and from distant parking lots,” Dolly said.

Campus escorts can be requested via emergency call boxes, marked with blue lights, or by any campus telephone at 8-3388.

Since early November, the campus has been relatively quiet. Snellgrove said the past semester’s crime was not unusually high. Instead, he said, the concentration of cases appears to have distorted reality.

“Though it seems the crimes are worse, they are roughly the same as the previous year,” Snellgrove said.

More to Discover