The University of New Mexico recently released its annual Campus Security and Fire Safety Report for 2021 in compliance with the federal Clery Act. The issue of campus safety at The University of New Mexico is an issue on almost 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 2020 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. Except for last year’s extended publication deadline, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this report is released by October 1 of each year.
The recently released report for 2021 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. Remote learning and working opportunities during 2020 also impacted types of incidents reported. For instance, property crimes like burglary and arson saw a slight increase, while referrals for disciplinary action decreased dramatically.
A quick review of the statistics from 2020 shows a continued decrease in auto thefts, down to 41 reports, compared to 76 in 2019 and 133 in 2018. Decreases were also seen in the number of crimes against persons such as aggravated assault, dating violence, and stalking. On-campus robbery reports increased, however, from 2 in 2019 to 5 in 2020
The issue of campus safety continues to be taken very seriously. The issue became a prime initiative for UNM President Garnett Stokes.
“President Stokes continues to make campus safety one of her top priorities and in doing so has continued to support several initiatives and secured additional funding that has made a difference,” said UNM Interim Police Chief Joe Silva. “We have approximately 629 cameras in use on main campus, 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.
“Information obtained from the Annual Clery report allows UNM to be proactive in addressing identified safety concerns, as well as analyzing existing campus safety resources. Through this annual transparency, UNM will continue to make progress in campus safety,” said UNM Compliance Coordinator Matthew Suazo.
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 will actively involve all areas of campus.
“We have a tremendous group of officers made up of 36 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.
Following 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 Campus Safety 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.
“The UNM Police Department is working hard to make this campus a safe place to live, learn, work and play," Silva said. "We believe that the information in the UNM Annual Security and Fire Safety Report for 2021 is informative and helpful. We hope you will take the time to review it.”