Criminal Justice expert explains why criminals come to B/CS to commit crimes

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BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX) - Bryan and College Station are cracking down on a continuing trend.

Criminals from Houston are coming to town committing crimes

Saturday afternoon College Station Police responded to Academy for a shoplifting spree.

Three people were arrested.

One of them allegedly pulled a gun on a driver who tried to stop them outside.

De Angela Marquisha Merrill, a 26-year-old, was arrested for aggravated robbery.

All three were from Houston.

"It's very unusual for that to occur. The pattern among offenders is to stay close to home," said Larry Hoover, Ph.D. He is the Director of the Police Research Center at Sam Houston State University.

He said easy access to highways is one reason criminals from elsewhere come here.

"Banks for example, very vulnerable targets, very high-risk situations and that's exactly right the assumption of naiveté or less coverage by police agencies," said Hoover.

Police said crime from outside the area is rare.

"Occasionally they come into town and you'll have a spree of say vehicle burglaries at the local motels and that's usually from guys from outside of town," said Asst. Chief Curtis Darby, with the Bryan Police Department.

Even so, there is a heavy focus to investigate and prosecute them as a deterrent.

“One of the last groups that came from Houston doing that actually did a robbery. We were able to track them down and arrest some of them so that worked out really good," he said.

College Station Police said from last October to present only about 37 percent of their 2,681 arrests were from out of town.

"Crime doesn't have political boundaries and so it's what's the easiest, what's the easiest pickings, what's the easiest place to find," said
Tristen Lopez, with the College Station Police Department.

Hoover said criminals typically like to know their surroundings.

"It's not likely to be a long term practice. Our data indicates offenders like to stay close to home," said Hoover.

Hoover also said crime across the nation has been falling since 1992.

"Prior to that, there had been a very steady increase in crime from approximately 1960 on through 1992. But something happened that year and every category of crime started in a downward trend," said Hoover.

"Now we're 27 years past that time and crime is still decreasing in the United States. Murder is down nearly 50 percent. Robbery is down 65 percent. Burglary is down 70 percent," said Hoover.

Researchers don't know exactly why those trends have dropped.

While so far this year 37 percent of arrests in College Station were out of town suspects, the number was slightly lower last year at 32 percent.