LoboAlerts, the University’s emergency text messaging and email alert system, has only sent out a single alert to UNM students and staff this semester — a test message, on Sept. 6.
Byron Piatt, emergency manager for the Center of Disaster Medicine, said the University has been fortunate this semester to not have to send out any notifications.
He said between the 2015-16 academic year, LoboAlerts were issued a total of 82 times, mainly for training purposes.
The Albuquerque campus was notified 24 times last school year, Piatt said, for 14 unique situations including: five cases of battery including fondling, four robberies, four police activities and one closure due to infrastructure failure.
LoboAlerts are issued as needed, Piatt said, only to notify the campus of a disturbance which poses the possibility of danger to personnel or their ability to continue operations.
This system is sustained by the Office of Emergency Management and reinforced by UNM IT.
According to Piatt, LoboAlerts can be released by several entities, but primarily by the UNM Police Department. Other entities are only called upon if UNMPD is overwhelmed.
Piatt said the incident can also be pushed as a LoboAlert if it meets specific criteria — if it involves a Clery crime, occurs within or adjacent to our campus geography, is reported to a campus safety official or police officer, and/or remains a threat to the campus community.
The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, known simply as the Clery Act, is a standing federal law signed in 1990.
The law was implemented to increase campus security, requiring colleges and universities, both public and private, that take part in federal student aid programs to publicly report campus safety information as well as enforcing fundamental requirements for handling an occurrence of sexual violence and emergency circumstances.
Crimes that fall in line with the act include: murder, negligent and non-negligent manslaughter, aggravated assault, robbery, burglary, motor vehicle theft, arson, sex offenses, domestic violence and stalking.
Hate crimes — criminal offenses committed against a person or property which is prompted by the offender’s bias, in whole or in part — are also identified as Clery Reportable Crimes.
This can involve larceny, simple assault, intimidation, or destruction, damage or vandalism of property.
Referrals for disciplinary action due to possession violations involving drugs, liquor and weapons are also classified as Clery reportable crimes.
“There have been no reportable incidents on campus this semester,” he said, knocking on wood. “I hope that our efforts are truly making our campus safer.”
Piatt emphasized why it is beneficial to follow the guidance provided in specific LoboAlert messages.
If the alert says, “Shelter in place,” the OEM office has expectations. Everyone on campus — faculty, students, guests or otherwise — should get inside the closest building. It’s also important to avoid windows and doors and from that point, try to obtain additional knowledge.
If the alert says “Avoid”, meaning a particular area on campus, OEM expects everyone on campus to comply.
“We add the date and time that the message was sent so that one can determine if the message was received late due to cell signal, battery strength, carrier issues, etc., or if the report of the incident was delayed,” Piatt said.
Anyone can sign up for the alerts online, but anyone with a UNM ID number is automatically registered in the system. This includes all active faculty, active UNM and UNM Hospital staff employees, registered students and University affiliates.
“We provide information about the incident and information as to how individuals can keep themselves from harm,” Piatt said. “Keeping our community safe is the benefit to the LoboAlerts system.”
Sarah Trujillo is a news reporter for the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @sarahtweets_abq.