Today, the UNM Office of Compliance, Ethics & Equal Opportunity (CEEO) released the University’s 2022 Annual Security and Fire Safety Report in compliance with the Jeanne Clery Act. Crime and safety are on the minds of many nationwide. New Mexico is no different and here in Albuquerque, safety is a top priority for officials at the University of New Mexico (UNM).
The report contains crime and fire statistics for the calendar years 2019, 2020, and 2021. As you know, the Nation has seen an increase in crime as it grapples with COVID-19 and its aftermath. Over the past three years, UNM has seen its campus open (2019), a total shutdown (2020), and a partial shutdown (2021), which has contributed to fluctuating crime rates.
The pandemic led to an increase in unemployment, individuals that were unsheltered, and families coping with quarantine and working and learning from home. Domestic violence is thought to have increased nationally by double digits in major metropolitan areas as part of COVID-19 isolation. Motor vehicle thefts have also increased in NM and nationally.
Despite this, UNM has remained a lower-risk area despite its status as a metropolitan university. Most crime rates reflected in the ASFSR for calendar year 2021 remained steady and some saw a decrease from those of previous years.
“Our institution’s compliance with the Clery Act and more importantly, our level of transparency, have made huge strides over the past few years,” said Clery Coordinator Adrienne Helms. “We have a lot of work planned for the coming months. Our goal is to build an even stronger infrastructure of crime prevention programming, victim support, and resources on campus that is both equitable and long-lasting.”
The issue of campus safety has been a continuous area of focus for UNM President Garnett Stokes. This fall, the President plans to announce the creation of UNM’s newest campus safety initiative, the Safe Campus Living Task Force. Her announcement will arrive on the heels of another Campus Safety Week during National Campus Security Awareness Month.
“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 Police Chief Joe Silva. “Funding to initiate a peer escort service has been secured, which will provide opportunities for students to help their community, gain leadership qualities, and have a direct impact on keeping our UNM community safer.
“Aside from our robust surveillance system, the police department is also evaluating other technologies to assist in a more proactive approach to crime on campus. These initiatives, along with targeted patrols and other directed activities with our law enforcement partners in the metro area, have made a positive impact on overall campus safety.”
Initiatives such as Think About It, a mandatory program the LoboRESPECT Advocacy Center provides to students, continue to educate the campus on healthy interpersonal relationships and behaviors. The University credits this program, CEEO’s ongoing Title IX training efforts University-wide, and other awareness campaigns with helping achieve its larger mission to reduce and prevent sexual and relationship violence and stalking on campus. UNM officials say these initiatives and others continue to lead to an increase in proper reporting of sexual assault cases.
“We have an outstanding team of professionals working in the police department who help support our patrol officers and supervisors,” 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.”
The full report is now available to the campus community on UNM’s Campus Safety webpage under the Main Campus link. Interested parties can request a copy at the Office of Compliance, Ethics & Equal Opportunity (609 Buena Vista Dr., NE).
“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 is informative and helpful. We hope you will take the time to review it.”