HOUSTON – You trust them with your children, but are Texas colleges doing enough to protect students and staff?
The KHOU 11 News I-Team dug through campus crime reports and found some of the Texas colleges with the most crimes are right here in the Houston area.
In the last couple of years students on area campuses have watched as classmates were shot, stabbed, and bullets flew during an armored truck robbery.
They're the kinds of scenes that can make parents like Teryna VanCleave shudder.
"Because I am so far away, and I can't jump in the car and run to her rescue," VanCleave explained.
So even before her daughter set foot on campus, VanCleave and her husband did their homework.
That included checking campus crime numbers at Texas Southern University where her daughter is going to be a freshman.
"You have to take your time, search, read up on the college and see what's going on," explained Donald VanCleave, who is a police captain back home in Indiana.
It turns out TSU reported 209 serious crimes to the US Department of Education between 2010 and 2012.
The 209 crimes are the second-most among Texas colleges according to the federal statistics compiled for the three years.
Yet TSU Police Chief Roger Byars says as a father, he wouldn't hesitate to send his kids to TSU.
"No crime is acceptable," said Byars. "But you do have to do a true comparison of what's going on, on the campus."
The chief points out more than 75% of TSU's on-campus crimes during the three years were non-violent burglaries.
In fact, no Texas college or university reported an on-campus murder between 2010 and 2012.
"The area itself warrants paying a little attention," said Byars. "Be aware of your surroundings. But I think you can be a victim of crime anywhere in Houston, Texas."
In fact, just a few blocks away, University of Houston topped the list of serious crimes with 267 reported across the three years.
"Am I surprised? Not really," said U of H senior Mollie Cox.
"The numbers don't lie," said Ike Katshungu another senior at University of Houston. "We're still number one as far as crime in Texas."
It's a ranking that students say reinforces their need to be careful around campus.
"I say the best thing to do is just be safe and be aware of your surroundings all the time," said Dylan Casares, a senior set to graduate in December.
"Even though the statistics may say there's a lot of crime, I don't think I'm going to find crime," said Sydney Gutierrez, a freshman at U of H.
While back at TSU, Byars says the university has added police and security officers, as well as security cameras that are monitored around-the-clock.
Efforts, that the chief hopes will not only keep students safe, but also calm anxious parents as well.
"I know police can't be everywhere at every time," said Teryna VanCleave. "So I'm just hoping that the values I instilled in her that she'll make good choices."
Crime on Texas College Campuses, 2010-2012 as reported to the US Department of Education:
University of Houston 267
Texas Southern University 209
Prairie View A & M University 192
The University of Texas at Austin 168
Texas A & M (College Station) 147
Stephen F. Austin State 100
Texas Tech University 93
Houston Community College 91
Southern Methodist University 82
Rice University 61
Texas Christian University 60
San Jacinto Community College 58
Baylor University 44
More data: Crime on Texas campuses (Excel file)