After two recent carjackings on the main campus, the president of the University of New Mexico issued a statement Saturday evening expressing “concern” and “anger” over the incidents and vowing to beef up security.
Garnett Stokes emphasized the importance of campus safety and sent an email campuswide in which she said she has advised university police to step up their presence around the university.
“I want to assure you that the well-being and safety of everyone on campus is our most important priority,” she said. “Officers will saturate the community and increase the visibility of mobile unit, bicycle and foot patrols, especially during the evening and late-night hours.”
The message follows two instances of students having their cars stolen at gunpoint, one in A Lot, north of the tennis courts, on Friday night and another last Sunday at Las Lomas near Yale.
No arrests have been made, but Stokes said officers are pursuing leads.
“In both cases, it appears that these crimes were not the work of a single individual,” Stokes said. “While no one was physically harmed in either incident, the crimes have traumatized the victims and understandably led to alarm among those who live, work and gather at the university. I have also heard from distressed parents who are asking what UNM is doing to keep students safe.”
UNM Police Department spokesman Tim Stump said they believe the carjackings were committed by the same group of people and are having more officers patrol at night.
He also had a message for students and others on campus: Be aware of your surrounding. “If you see anything suspicious, contact us,” he said.
As a metropolitan campus, Stokes said in her message, “we are not immune to the collateral effects” of crime in Albuquerque.
In 2016, UNM had the most auto thefts among universities nationwide. Since then auto thefts on campus have risen sharply. They jumped 28 percent jump in 2017, with a total of 222 incidents.