Property crime and incidents of sexual misconduct were up in 2015 compared to years past at the University of New Mexico, according to a new report made public Wednesday.
In 2015, people on campus reported 13 incidents of rape, up from 12 in 2014 and 10 in 2013. And 15 people reported being fondled against their will, up from seven in 2014. Incidents of fondling were not recorded in a separate category in 2013.
Chief of the UNM Police Department, Kevin McCabe, said in an open letter to the campus that the increased reporting of fondling incidents can be attributed to university efforts to encourage people to report such crimes.
The national Clery Act requires that all universities and colleges issue an annual public report that details crime on the campus .
“The increases cause me great concern and patrolling of the campus, and engaging with students, staff and faculty by my officers is a top priority,” McCabe said. “Every incident reported to police is taken seriously and investigated fully until case is either solved or until all leads are exhausted.”
Earlier this year, a U.S. Department of Justice investigation found UNM failed to fully comply with federal antidiscrimination gender laws. An agreement between those two organizations about how UNM will handle future cases is pending.
The Clery report also noted 88 incidents of auto vehicle theft – nearly triple the 32 reported cases in 2014 and about double the 41 reports in 2013. McCabe said the surge can be partially attributed to new federal requirements that require attempted auto thefts be included in the total count. That considered, thieves stole 64 vehicles and attempted to steal another 24.
In 2015, those living and working on campus reported 49 burglaries, up from the 15 in 2014 and 24 in 2013.
“Property crimes are a serious problem on campus due to the large population on campus and the multiple parking lots spread throughout the university campus which creates an opportunity for criminals determined to commit property theft,” McCabe said.
He added that his officers “aggressively patrol” parking lots while encouraging the public to secure their belongings in vehicle trunks, lock doors and avoid leaving personal property unattended.