The University of New Mexico held a safety forum to update the campus community on an investigation involving the deaths of four Muslim men in the Albuquerque-area the last nine month, including three in the past two weeks.
The University, along with various other law enforcement officials including the Albuquerque Police Department and representatives of the Islamic Center of New Mexico, conducted the forum that discussed various topics including increased police presence and patrols, questions and answers and provided safety tips as part of the one-hour forum.
The increased policing efforts include expanded patrols south of campus and directed, high profile patrols for north campus in collaboration with UNM and UNMH. UNM Security is also increasing their patrols and escorts around campus.
“We regularly communicate with them (all law enforcement agencies) to ensure any critical or important information is relayed back and forth to each of our respective departments,” said UNM Chief of Police, Joe Silva. “We're also currently working with the global education Department and the Asian, American Pacific Islander Resource Center in providing safety talks as soon as possible. Hopefully, we can get that done before the beginning of the semester.
Silva also mentioned the many different law enforcement agencies working together to put an end to the current threat. “There's many local and Federal law enforcement officials that are working together including the State police, Bernalillo County FBI, CNM, the district attorney's office, the United States Attorney's office, and others providing support for APD, who is currently the lead agency.”
In this investigation, UNM is part of the APD Operations plan, which will keep the campus community up to date on anything that may be of concern, not only at UNM, but also CNM and other surrounding campuses including APS.
“APD has set up points of contact in the area for anyone in the community who would like to provide information that may be helpful in this investigation,” added Silva. “UNM PD is also positioned to help follow up on any leads, especially if those involve anything to do with our campus, and the city of Albuquerque is also setting up a 301 number to access, support and trauma, counseling or request groceries or hot meal deliveries for those who feel unsafe."
APD released an image of a car and asked the public for assistance identifying the vehicle. The vehicle is a four-door, dark gray / silver Volkswagen sedan with tinted windows. The vehicle appears to be a Volkswagen Jetta. To report any other crime tips that may be related to this investigation, visit APD Evidence - ABQ Homicide tips.
Anyone with information about the vehicle is asked to call 505-843-STOP, go to crimestoppersnm.com, or contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI. Crime Stoppers is offering a $20,000 reward and the Council on American-Islamic Relations is offering another $10,000 for information leading to an arrest, the city announced.
In addition, UNM is committed to offering services, information, resources and tools to provide a safe campus for all students, staff, faculty, and visitors. If you have not already done so, UNM encourages everyone to sign up for Lobo Alerts and to download the UNM Lobo Guardian app to your phone. This app features an emergency button that goes directly to UNM police, an alert timer that you can set for someone to check on you, and a way to communicate with the UNM police via photos or texts from your phone.
While on campus, look for the blue emergency phone towers if you feel unsafe – a push of the button will connect you with UNM police. The UNM Police Department offers services to anyone needing an escort from an on-campus location to another on-campus location 24 hours, 7 days a week. Call 505-277-2241 from your personal phone or use the blue emergency phone tower.
Additionally, for those in the campus community, UNM provides several mental health and other resources for those in crisis or who just need someone to talk to.
For more information, visit UNM Campus Safety.