The University of New Mexico today released its annual Campus Security and Fire Safety Report for 2020 in compliance with the federal Clery Act. The issue of campus safety at The University of New Mexico is an issue on most everyone’s minds as the greater Albuquerque-area continues to make strides with crime in general.
The report contains crime statistics and other safety information for the calendar year 2019 using comparisons of the previous two years and offers a glimpse into overall crime issues as they pertain to the campus community specifically. It provides law enforcement officials with an opportunity to review crimes that have occurred on campus and trends that might be associated with them with the ultimate goal of preventing future incidences through the implementation of new safety initiatives and programs designed to improve the safety of everyone on campus.
Normally this report is released by Oct. 1 of each year, but this year the Department of Education extended the publication deadline to Dec. 31, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The recently released report for 2020 includes areas where UNM experienced a slight increase in crime as well as areas where reported crimes decreased. Several factors can affect yearly statistics including changes in reporting criteria that have led to slight increases in certain categories and decreases in others the past couple of years.
A quick review of the statistics from 2019 shows a second significant decrease in auto thefts, down 42 percent with 76, compared to 133 in 2018. Decreases were also seen in the number of robberies with two reported, down from seven in 2018 and 12 reported domestic violence incidents compared to 16 in 2018. However, reports of dating violence rose from 16 reported incidents in 2018 to 30 in 2019. Burglaries, stalking and drug referrals were also up from the previous year.
The issue of campus safety continues to be taken very seriously. The issue became a prime initiative for UNM President Garnett S. Stokes in March 2018.
“President Stokes has made campus safety one of her top priorities and in doing so has secured funding for various projects that have made a difference,” said UNM Interim Police Chief Joe Silva. “We’ve added 121 cameras during building construction and renovation projects, 64 of a planned 168 cameras have been added to surface parking lots at Albuquerque campuses, plus 220 cameras at our remote campus locations. These, along with targeted patrols and other directed activities, have made a positive impact on overall campus safety.”
Initiatives such as LoboRESPECT facilitated through the Lobo Respect Advocacy Center, continues to educate the campus on healthy interpersonal relationships and behaviors. The University credits this program and others such as Think About It, a new education and mandatory training program for students rolled out in 2018 by the Lobo Respect Advocacy Center. UNM officials hope these initiatives and others continue to lead to an increase in proper reporting of sexual assault cases.
“It is important that UNM utilizes the Crime Information within this report to identify trends across our campus, so we know where to appropriately place our campus safety resources," said UNM Compliance Director Rob Burford.
UNM has continued its efforts with the Campus Safety Council (CSC) to ramp up its safety efforts even more so. The goal of the CSC is to create, implement and assess a community policing strategic plan in partnership with the campus community to promote and maintain crime prevention and safety awareness. The Council actively involves all areas of campus.
“We have a tremendous group of officers made up of 34 dedicated individuals,” said Silva. “Those officers patrol UNM’s nearly 800-acre campus 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. UNMPD is dedicated to ensuring the safety of our campus and working with the greater community to help support that mission.”
As part of the report, the UNM Police Department requests crime statistics information from the City of Albuquerque, Rio Rancho and Bernalillo Police Departments to include. The complete report also includes information about crime prevention programs, ways to report criminal activity, and campus policies on sexual assault, drugs, alcohol and weapons.
Per the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, the annual report additionally includes details on fire statistics and fire safety information for UNM Student Residential Facilities as well as the University’s policy and procedures for resident students to provide a contact person in case a student is determined to be missing.
The full report is available on the UNM PD website. Interested parties can request a copy at the UNM Police Department located in Hokona Hall at 2500 Campus Blvd., Human Resources Service Center at 1700 Lomas Blvd., Admissions Office at the Student Services Center, Student Support and Services Center at 1155 University Blvd. and the HSC Administrative Services Office at the Health Sciences and Services Building.
In an email to the campus community about the report results, Silva said, “The UNM Police Department is working hard to make this campus a safe place to live, learn, work and play. We believe that the information in the UNM Annual Security and Fire Safety Report for 2020 is informative and helpful. We hope you will take the time to review it.”