The University of New Mexico today released its annual Campus Security and Fire Safety Report for 2019 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 2018 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 2019 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 the past couple of years.
A quick review of the statistics from 2018 shows a significant 40 percent decrease in auto thefts with 133 compared with 222 in 2017, burglaries with 36 reported, down from 39 in 2017 and 16 reported dating violence incidents compared to 29 in 2018. However, reports of domestic violence dropped rose from six reported incidents in 2017 compared to 16 in 2018.
The issue of campus safety continues to taken very seriously. The issue became a prime initiative for UNM President Garnett Stokes.
“President Stokes quickly made campus safety one of her top initiatives and in doing so has secured funding to increase lighting and cameras around campus, which have begun to make an impact,” 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 two (19) from 17, reported rape incidents were up by five (24) compared to 19 and fondling cases up by one (13).
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 in 2018 by the Lobo Respect Advocacy Center. UNM officials hope these initiatives and others continue lead to an increase in proper reporting of sexual assault cases.
UNM PD also attributes the improved areas to a crime-fighting initiative rolled out last year of its own titled #UNMStrongerTogether designed to encourage more awareness of and participation in community policing on all UNM campuses.
Additionally, to build upon the #UNMStrongerTogether initiative, UNM has also created a Campus Safety Council (CSC) to ramp up its safety efforts even moreso. 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 will actively involve all areas of campus.
“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. 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, McCabe said, “The UNM Police Department works hard every day to make the University a safe place to live, learn, work and play. We believe that the information in the UNM Annual Security and Fire Safety Report for 2019, which reflect crime statistics collected for the 2018 calendar year, is informative and helpful.”