By Kaylee Trainum / NM News Port
Reported cases of rape are on the rise on the University of New Mexico campus according to the 2019 annual Clery Report, a report that contains information on campus safety and crime.
Sexual Assault and Rape
Rape and sexual assault at UNM have been steadily rising since 2011. In 2018, there were 12 times more rapes on campus than the two sexual assaults reported on campus in 2011.
The University of New Mexico has attempted to make reporting guidelines and outlets more accessible for victims.
“I think they’ve made it so much easier to report,” said Lieutenant Trace Peck of the UNM Police Department.
Peck said that all sexual assaults, including rape, now must be reported as clery reported crimes, which are crimes documented and counted in the Clery Report.The UNM Police Department receives the information from numerous sources, including faculty, staff and the Albuquerque SANE Collaborative, which provides medical treatment to victims of rape and sexual assault.
“If any of those are reported, whether they (victims) want something done criminally or if they want something done medically, we’re getting those numbers now,” Peck said.
The University has undergone many changes in how it reports and investigates rape. These changes came after an investigation by the Department of Justice in 2016, where they conducted an investigation into UNM’s handling reports of rape. It was concluded that UNM was not complying with Title IX regulations and not responding adequately to reports of sexual assault.
“All the different confidential resources have to report back to us now. Even if you’re reporting a sexual assault confidentially, the universities are mandated to have to report that to the Clery crimes,” Peck said. “Before if it was confidential, but now those numbers have to be reported.”
Guidelines for how to report instances of rape and resources are now required in annual tutorials for staff and faculty, and have been made available online and through the mandatory student Grey Area Training.
“I think it’s because we’re doing a better job,” said Rob Burford, UNM’s Clery Compliance Officer. “Not that we were doing an awful job before, it’s just we’re doing a better job of helping people understand that they should come forward and where to go forward to report and letting them know the different avenues they have.”
Dating, Domestic Violence, Stalking and Assault
The 2019 report shows that dating violence or violence between people in an intimate or sexual relationship is down. However, domestic violence, described as violence between two people who are married or in a spouse-like relationship, is up.
Dating violence decreased by 41 percent, while domestic violence was up nearly 62 percent. Additionally, aggravated assault was down slightly, with two fewer instances than 2017.
Instances of stalking have been on the rise since 2013, with 36 instances occurring this past year.
Reported hate crimes had not increased since 2014, however last year the first battery charge involving a hate crime occured.
Auto Theft and Burglary
While the reports of rape have gradually risen over the last seven years, other crimes, such as auto theft and burglary are down. Auto theft is approximately 40 percent lower in 2018 and two fewer burglaries occurred in 2018 than in 2017.
Former New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez enacted the auto theft task force in 2017, which helped the UNM Police Department reduce the number of vehicles being stolen on campus.
“Part of that task force was that they doubled the amount of bait cars that APD (Albuquerque Police Department) uses,” Lt. Peck said. “So we were able to get several of those, working with APD, put on our campus and numerous arrests were made doing that.”
The UNM Police Department was also able to purchase a mobile camera system that provides a live feed that connects straight to the dispatch center and provide cameras in parking structures and other areas with high crime rates.
Kaylee Trainum is a reporter for the New Mexico News Port. She can be contacted on Twitter @kaylee_trainum or at email@example.com.