Imagine you’re a student who is leaving home for the first time to attend college and live in a dorm. Or you’re a parent of a student leaving home for the first time. It’s likely that students and parents will have questions about safety in the dorms and on campus at The University of New Mexico. UNM works to alleviate those concerns and provide a safe student housing environment.

“There are many systems and staff resources provided to our students who live on-campus to help keep them safe,” said DeAnnna Padilla, assistant director of Residence Life at UNM, overseeing Residence Education which includes the Resident Advisors (RA), Student Safety team (SS), and Hall Coordinators (HC).

There is a first-year residency requirement at UNM, meaning all incoming freshmen must live on campus.

“We’re committed to providing all students with an exceptional educational experience. This is the reason that UNM requires all first-time first-year freshmen to live on the UNM main campus. There are statistics both nationally and at the university level that show that students who live on campus have greater academic success and they complete their degree at a quicker rate than students who live off campus,” she noted.

UNM Residence Life is committed to maintaining a safe environment for dorm residents.

“Our students have access to staff within housing and the UNM Police Department 24/7/365 if there is a concern that needs to be addressed. Campus police or housing staff is never more than a phone call away. 24/7/365 our students have access to staff within housing and the UNM Police Department if there is a safety concern that needs addressed,” Padilla said.

Among the safety features are:

Hall security

Lobby perimeter doors are locked 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A student’s perimeter key will only open the door of the student’s building. Guests can call students from exterior phones located around the buildings. Exterior phones also serve as pre-dialed emergency phones (indicated with a red button) that will connect students directly with UNM Campus Police. Within the Student Residence Center apartments are emergency buttons in the rooms that will connect to Student Safety teams.

Residence Hall Student Safety and Security staff patrol residence halls and outside areas and report any conduct violations that occur in the halls.

RA On-Duty

Within each community, there is one Resident Advisor on duty each night from 8 p.m. until 7 a.m. to handle emergencies in each residence hall. Their names and phone numbers are posted in the lobbies or courtyards. The Student Residence Center 24-hour Desk is available at (505) 277-9203. Among the SRC Desk staff duties are responding to emergencies and helping connect students to a variety of resources.

Emergency call box system

There are emergency call boxes located throughout the residence halls. Students who need aid can push and hold the red button and talk into the speaker. The call box system connects them to the SRC Commons 24-hour Desk, where staff will alert the necessary help.

SRC Commons Desk

The SRC Commons Desk is open 24 hours and can be contacted any time at (505) 277-9203 in case of an emergency. Students who call should state their name, what the problem is, and where the problem is located. Students can also call the RA on duty nightly 8 p.m.-7 a.m.

UNM Police Department

Joseph Silva
UNMPD Chief Joseph Silva

Both police and security officers patrol throughout campus and its perimeter, said UNM Police Department Chief Joseph Silva.

“However, it should be noted that UNMPD appreciates and respects the fact that the dorms are homes to resident Lobos. UNM Police and security officers don’t typically enter the residence halls unless invited in but are indeed patrolling the perimeters and available for student requests for assistance,” Silva added.

Officers designated as “bike officers” ride throughout campus and are highly visible during special UNM events.

“The administration of the University along with UNMPD and other departments within UNM consider campus safety a top priority,” Silva said. “The university provides technology such as Lobo Guardian, blue phones, video surveillance, access control, and emergency communications as a force multiplier for the safety and security of campus.”

In addition, Silva said, the police department works with the Residence Assistance with ongoing initiatives specific to safety for students, providing safety talks, and escorts upon request. UNMPD uses social media to raise the level of awareness of safety and security on campus as well as provide safety tips and reminders of how to contact police when needed.

Moreover, the Student Residence Center Apartments and Lobo Village contract with outside security companies to provide an additional layer of security onsite. Contract security at the residence halls noted above have direct communication with UNMPD, Silva said.

“UNMPD is always working on new safety initiatives based on current trends and elicits the support and resources of the metro area to include our law enforcement partners throughout the state,” Silva remarked.

Campus police are available for serious security problems, theft, or other incidents that need immediate attention. Call 505-277-2241. Student residents who do call the police should inform the desk or the resident advisor on duty.Blue light stations throughout campus automatically connect to UNM Police dispatch.

The UNM Police Department offers safety escort services to anyone needing a safety escort from an on-campus location to another on-campus location 24 hours, seven days a week. The Campus Escort Service may be reached at (505) 277-2241.


LoboAlerts is the UNM emergency text messaging system. LoboAlerts is part of a multi-faceted, campus notification system used to provide safety and weather alerts, and notification of events which have the potential to threaten the university's ability to conduct regular activities. The system also includes a warning siren, email alerts, and web page updates.

For instance, in cases of police activity on or around campus, participating students and other members of the Lobo community are sent texts to let them know there is police activity and what area to avoid. Texts are sent out afterward when the situation is clear.

All faculty, staff, registered students, affiliates of UNM, and all UNMH employees are automatically enrolled. They can opt out of the alerts but are encouraged to maintain the option. All users should review their contact information and add additional emergency contact information as necessary. Login now to confirm your contact information. It will only be used to provide safety and weather alerts, or notification of any event which may pose a threat to the University’s ability to conduct regular activities.

The University emergency notification system is tested at the beginning of each semester and the siren can be heard across campus. The test includes all parts of the University's warning systems, including sirens, e-mail, text messaging, social media updates, and UNM website notifications. All campuses will be a part of this test. Students and other participants will receive a reminder about the test via text and email through LoboAlerts system shortly before the test alert.


Students are also encouraged to use LoboGuardian, a joint effort between the Office of the President, Dean of Students, Campus Safety, UNM Police Department, and Information Technologies. LoboGuardian is a mobile app UNM that increases user safety by creating a virtual safety network of friends and family.

With the LoboGuardian app students can set a safety timer and status; easy access to emergency communication; and to report crime tips to the UNM Police Department. It’s a virtual blue light at your fingertips. For more information, visit LoboGuardian. An FAQ page is also available to answer specific questions.

Click here for an overview and guide to UNM’s campus safety efforts.