AUSTIN (KXAN) — As University of Texas at Austin students returned to class for the spring semester Monday, there was a heightened law enforcement presence on and around campus.
The state has increased patrols there and around other state-owned properties, thanks to an order from Governor Greg Abbott following a couple of violent attacks by people who are homeless.
The governor gave the Texas Department of Public Safety until Monday to get extra patrols out, but it didn’t take that long. On Thursday, just hours after he made the order, the Governor tweeted that troopers were already out downtown on mounted patrol.
On Monday, DPS patrol cars and motorcycles could be seen on campus and the drag, which the university says is usually not the case.
“I think having the extra patrol officers here is going to help,” said UT student Seniru Kottegoda. “There’s homeless people I see on Guad all the time.”
“The homeless people on campus, specifically, are pretty friendly for the most part,” said Farah Mavrakis, another student. “I mean, sometimes there’s like knives and it’s a little bit scary. Personally, I don’t like walking alone at night.”
University of Texas Police Chief David Carter tweeted photos of his officers out on bikes patrolling with troopers Monday, which they do from time to time. They were on campus and off, near the Capitol. Meanwhile, troopers on mounted horseback also patrolled downtown around the Capitol.
“I think that increased forces will be really helpful just to ease everyone’s minds,” Mavrakis said.
KXAN reached out to both Governor Abbott’s office and DPS to ask how the first weekend with extra patrols went. KXAN had not received a response as of Monday afternoon.