By Officer Tristen C. Lopez, College Station Police Department
With classes starting at Texas A&M and Blinn College next week, it’s an ideal time to review some common sense ways for students to stay safe and avert crime.
Secure your property
Regardless of the location of your neighborhood or apartment complex, never leave your keys in your car — or even a nearby car — and make sure always to lock your car doors. If possible, don’t leave valuables — especially guns — in your car. If that’s not an option, hide them.
More than 90% of car burglaries don’t involve forced entry. Be sure you always lock the doors to your residence, too.
Did you just buy a brand-new 80-inch television to enjoy Aggie football games? Don’t leave the box by your curb to advertise your shiny new possession to anyone who drives past. Break up the box and put it in your trash container or a bag, or at least put it out the morning of your scheduled bulk trash pick-up.
Buzzed driving = drunken driving
About every 20 minutes in Texas, someone is hurt or killed in a crash involving alcohol. You already know that .08% blood-alcohol content is the legal limit in Texas, but you’re also intoxicated if you feel the effects of alcohol or drugs, including marijuana.
An arrest for driving while intoxicated can cost you a whopping $17,000, so always designate a driver, call a taxi or ride-hailing service (Uber/Lyft), or use Carpool.
Party and study drugs
You risk arrest for driving under the influence of any drug or substance, not just alcohol.
Marijuana use remains illegal in Texas. It will get you arrested and is a felony if you have more than four ounces. That also goes for possession of marijuana concentrates such as THC oil, hash, wax, or shatter.
Obviously, you should avoid all illegal drugs and take appropriate precautions with prescription drugs. If you share prescribed drugs or take those that are meant for someone else, you’re breaking the law.
Minors and alcohol
You must be at least 21 years old to drink alcohol in Texas legally, and we strictly enforce the law in College Station. If you’re under 21, the easiest way to get caught is to possess alcohol at Northgate, a tailgate, or at a loud neighborhood or apartment party.
Getting a fake ID isn’t worth it, either. You risk getting a costly ticket or even an arrest for possessing a fake or altered ID, or one that isn’t yours. Lying to a police officer about your name or date of birth, or running away, typically results in an automatic arrest. Don’t turn a ticket into an arrest!
Whether you are of legal age or not, don’t supply alcohol to minors. You risk arrest if you allow your under-21 friends even to take a sip of your alcoholic beverage.
An unreasonable level of noise (more than 85 decibels on public property, or when someone complains about it) usually results in a ticket. That means you need to stay in control of your parties.
Fighting usually results in a misdemeanor arrest, and public urination is illegal under city ordinance.
Hazing is against most colleges’ codes of conduct — and it’s illegal.
Hazing is any intentional, knowing, or reckless act, occurring on or off the campus that endangers a student’s mental or physical health or safety as part of membership in an organization.
Hazing includes any activity involving consumption of a food, liquid, alcoholic beverage, liquor, drug, or other substance that subjects the student to an unreasonable risk of harm or that adversely affects the student’s mental or physical health or safety.
Part of college life is enjoying yourself and having fun with your friends. The best way to do that is to take proper precautions and avoiding unnecessary risks.
Here’s to a great school year!
About the Blogger
Tristen Lopez is in his 10th year with the College Station Police Department.
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