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Campus crime rates on the rise in 2022

Students and faculty might have had more interaction with the NMSU emergency notification system sent out by the school in the last semester than ever before. In just the month of March alone, there were six messages sent out about threats on or near campus.

According to NMSUPD statistics, the department has seen a hefty increase in non-residential burglaries – up from one burglary in the first quarter of 2021 to 15 burglaries in the first quarter of 2022(Photo illustration by Kokopelli staff)

According to Interim Deputy Chief Justin Dunivan of the New Mexico State University Police Department, there seems to have been more “crimes of opportunity” this semester. These types of crimes can be auto burglaries or other property crimes.

So far in 2022, there have been four unlawful taking of motor vehicles and two residential burglaries, more than a 100% increase over last year.

Dunivan, a former deputy chief with the Las Cruces Police Department, has been working for the NMSU Police Department since 2019 to help ensure safety on campus.

“I started work on campus again because it felt nice to come back and help the NMSU students,” Dunivan said.

According to NMSUPD statistics, the department has seen a hefty increase in non-residential burglaries – up from one burglary in the first quarter of 2021 to 15 burglaries in the first quarter of 2022.

“According to NMSUPD statistics, the department has seen a hefty increase in non-residential burglaries – up from one burglary in the first quarter of 2021 to 15 burglaries in the first quarter of 2022.”

The stats indicate that 90% of the burglaries were crimes of opportunity, meaning either the door of the vehicle was unlocked, or the person’s valuables were in view from outside the vehicle.

“I have asked the officers to detail these events in order to make sure we can make those on campus feel safe,” Dunivan said. “We [NMSUPD] want the community to feel safe, so we asked that if you see something, say something.”

Approximately 66% of respondents said they feel safe on campus in an Instagram poll conducted by Kokopelli. (Photo by Myra Rommes/Kokopelli)

According to Dunivan, it may be more useful to compare current crime stats with older statistics from 2018 and 2019. This is due to the lull of criminal activity in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19.

In a quick Instagram poll with a rather small sample size, 66% [21 people] of NMSU students voted that they feel safe on campus, while 34% [11 people] voted that they do not feel safe.

NMSU student, Ally Ruiz, replied to the post with the following message: “I can’t sit outside on my own without being approached by a guy. Not always in a creepy way, but I still don’t appreciate it.”

These types of encounters are different than the documented burglaries of the first quarter of 2022, but NMSUPD’s “see something, say something” advice may still apply.

Aidan McLaughlin, a senior on campus, said, “I feel safe, generally, on campus, but not because there are more cops on campus, just because there are other people around more often.”

Daquiri Shuri said the opposite. “I definitely do not feel safe on campus. It just feels creepy walking anywhere alone, even in the daytime, is just creepy. But, having more cops on campus doesn’t really help that feeling either,” Shuri said. “I know that most of the crimes that happen are not directly on campus, but that also doesn’t make me feel very safe on campus either way.”

Dunivan indicated the police department is working to increase the police presence on campus. “We are trying to increase visibility of cops on campus to help ease any tensions that might arise by students and faculty alike,” Dunivan said.

How about you? Do you feel safe on campus? Please let us know by responding to the poll below. 

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DO YOU FEEL SAFE ON CAMPUS?

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