Since the end of the semester there has been 12 auto burglaries at Student Family Housing reported to the University of New Mexico’s Police Department.

As a result, SFH is advising residents to take precautions to keep their belongings and themselves safe.

Lt. Tim Stump with UNMPD said the stolen items range from cellphones, laptops and backpacks to anything left in a vehicle in plain sight and, unfortunately, sometimes in an unsecured vehicle.

Damage to vehicles also varies from shattered windows to damaged door locks, Stump said.

Residence Life and Student Housing Director Wayne Sullivan said he wants his residents to enjoy where they live, and that comes with reminding them how to prevent themselves from being a victim of auto burglary.

“We certainly want residents to have a positive experience no matter where they live,” Sullivan said. “We encourage them to make their belongings less prone
(to) theft by always securing the vehicle and not leaving valuables in plain sight.”

Safe reminders and precautions have been sent out by SFH to all residents through email, he said.

Posters and flyers placed around the complex remind residents that UNMPD can help keep them and their belongings safe, and inform them on how they can help themselves stay safe as well.

Just a few of the precautions being asked of residents are ensuring that their cars and apartments are locked with nothing valuable left in plain sight, Sullivan said.

This includes not allowing unknown non-residents onto the property, and to take advantage of UNM's security escort service by calling 505-277-2241, he said. The escort service will pick up students on Main Campus and drop them off at Student Family Housing.

Stump said UNMPD is actively working on reducing auto burglary on campus by patrolling campus lots throughout the day, in between their normal calls for service.

UNMPD has apprehended some of the thieves and retrieved several items this summer and have deterred many thefts, he said. In addition, UNMPD has responded to calls of suspicious activity which often quickly leads to an arrest on the scene.

They have also utilized “Bait Cars” and undercover operations to help apprehend criminals and deter incidents, he said.

“Students, residents, staff and faculty should always keep their belongings out of sight if left in their vehicles,” Stump said. “(They should) make sure their vehicles are secured. We have caught people walking through lots pulling on handles, hoping for an unlocked vehicle. Stay aware. If you see something suspicious call us immediately. We have a very quick response time.”

According to UNMPD, the amount of auto burglaries this summer is currently the exact same as last summer - 12.

Stump said UNMPD’s biggest concern is the safety of the UNM community, and reminded students that UNMPD's number is always on hand - it's on the back of their LoboCard.

“The community should be the eyes and ears for the police. The police cannot be everywhere. A lot of times we are contacted about incidents that have happened several minutes after an incident was witnessed,” he said. “The faster we get the information the faster we respond and hopefully apprehend a thief or deter a crime.”

SFH is asking anyone that sees any suspicious or out the ordinary activity to report it to UNMPD at 505-277-2241.