Campus safety at The University of New Mexico is an issue most everyone’s minds as the greater Albuquerque-area continues to grapple with crime in general. In compliance with the federal Clery Act, the UNM Police Department publishes annually the Campus Security and Fire Safety Report.
The report contains crime statistics and other safety information for the calendar year 2017 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 one and all on campus.
The recently released report for 2018 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 the slight increases in certain categories and decreases in others.
A review of the statistics from 2017 show an increase in auto thefts with 222 compared with 174 in 2016, burglaries with 39 reported, up from 28 in 2016 and 29 reported dating violence incidents compared to 23 in 2016. However, reports of domestic violence dropped to six reported incidents in 2017 compared to 11 in 2016.
UNM officials attribute the increases that reflect modifications in the reporting of auto thefts and incidents of domestic violence in which dating violence was added as a reporting requirement. Clery also requires attempted auto thefts to be reported as auto thefts whether the vehicle was taken or not.
It’s still an issue taken very seriously. Campus safety, including property crime, quickly became a prime initiative for new UNM President Garnett Stokes.
“President Stokes has made campus safety one of her top initiatives and in doing so has secured funding to increase lighting and cameras around campus,” said UNM Police Chief Kevin McCabe. “We believe adding the cameras will aid law enforcement in apprehending offenders and make the campus a less attractive target for property thefts and other crimes of opportunity.”
In other categories, aggravated assaults were up by seven (19), reported rape incidents were up by four (19) and fondling cases by one (12).
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 earlier this year by the Lobo Respect Advocacy Center.
UNM officials hope these initiatives and others lead to an increase in proper reporting of sexual assault cases. Last year, the University was able to reach more than 25,000 students with its in-person sexual assault prevention program, The Grey Area.
UNM PD also recently launched a new crime-fighting initiative of its own titled #UNMStrongerTogether designed to encourage more awareness of and participation in community policing on all UNM campuses.
“We have 40 sworn officers on our force, from the Chief to patrol officers,” said McCabe. “Those officers patrol UNM’s nearly 800-acre campus 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. That’s a lot of ground to cover, right in the heart of Albuquerque. UNMPD is dedicated to taking proactive measures to increase the safety of our community, and we hope the community will 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, drug, alcohol and weapons.
In accordance with 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 or 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 a letter to the campus community about the report results, McCabe 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 2018 is informative and helpful. We hope you will take the time to review it and help us work to keep the campus safe.”