Seven vehicles were reported burglarized and one was reported stolen to the UNM Police Department. Most of the incidents happened at the Lands West Parking Lot, which is located at 1209 University Blvd. NE.
According to the daily crime log report, only one other auto burglary has been reported since March 18.
Lt. Tim Stump, UNMPD’s public information officer, said even though the department has been concentrating on finding the perpetrators for the past week, there are no suspects at this time.
The department has considered the possibility that the incidents at Lands West and others across UNM campus may be connected, he said.
According to the reports, all of the vehicles burglarized on Lands West were pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles.
“We are always out on watch, we are always out throughout campus patrolling and looking for people and vehicles that are suspicious. Obviously we missed it that day,” Stump said.
Most car thefts on UNM campus occur during regular business hours, he said. Cars parked in campus lots are easy targets for crime because most people work all day without returning to their car, he said.
Stump said he has no knowledge of a car-theft ring but said UNMPD does collaborate with the Albuquerque Police Department regarding theft trends.
Out of the eight vehicles only one was reported stolen. However, most of the vehicles had damage to the locks, windows, ignition, steering column and some items were stolen including a stereo, according to the reports.
Karin Murray, a registered nurse for UNM Hospital, said she filed a report with UNMPD after failing to start her car because of a damaged ignition, and realizing that paperwork from her center console was scattered in the front seat.
According to the report, Murray returned to her truck after working for 13 hours. An officer was dispatched to the scene and observed the driver-side lock punched in, which allowed the suspect to gain entry.
Murray said for 30 years she has parked at M lot and the other parking structures at UNM. However, this year she was unable to renew her permit for M lot.
After receiving the permit for Lands West, she was worried about being burglarized, and it did not take long for her worries to come to fruition, she said.
“People park their vehicles there for probably between 9 to 13 hours at a time, unattended. And the people who burglarized the lot, they know that, and nobody checks on the vehicles for that long period of time. And I think they are sitting targets for theft,” Murray said.
Murray said the suspects were probably professionals because most of her car was not damaged, just the lock. She said she now has her husband drive her to work because the risk is too high.
She suggested that having security personnel on site at all times, and possibly implementing electronic access to the lot, would help put her at ease.
Stump said UNMPD has increased patrol because of the increase in thefts.
“We are always in the lots, always in the parking structures going through it as much as we can,” Stump said.
The best way to prevent car theft, he said, would be to keep the car clean and to not leave any valuables inside that could be stolen.
“As it is shown throughout history, video cameras do not prevent a crime. Sometimes, if we are lucky, they assist in a capture but they don’t deter — they don’t stop the crime,” Stump said.
Lauren Marvin is a culture editor for the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @LaurenMarvin.