NMSU Police release annual safety report, and news is good

October 28, 2009 by Mark Cramer @NMSU the online newsletter for NMSU staff and faculty

In accordance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, the NMSU Police Department is required annually to notify students and employees about crime statistics for the Las Cruces and Doña Ana Community College campuses. The 2009 report is accessible on the police department’s Web site (http://www.nmsupolice.com/AnnualReports/2009AnnualReport.pdf).

The report contains information regarding safety and security programs, policies and procedures in place at NMSU and DACC.

The Clery Act requires the report to list statistics for seven specific criminal activities over a three-year period (2006 – 2008): murder (including manslaughter), rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, motor vehicle theft, arson and hate crimes. Federal law requires these acts be broken down further to reveal where criminal activity took place: on campus, in residence facilities, off-campus fraternities or off-campus public property. A more comprehensive listing of crime and traffic incident statistics going back to 1989 may be found on the police department’s Web site.

For the most part, crime statistics have trended downward on the NMSU and DACC campuses for the past three years.

For the most part, crime statistics have trended downward on the NMSU and DACC campuses for the past three years.

The numbers reveal that burglary has been by far the most common crime on the Las Cruces campus in each of the past three years, with an across-the-board high of 92 incidents in 2007. The good news is that burglaries were cut by nearly two-thirds in 2008, to 32 incidents.

“The NMSU Police Department is responsible for the investigation of all crimes that take place on university premises, which includes the filing of appropriate police reports and filing of annual reports and statistics,” pointed out Deputy Chief of Police Stephen Lopez. “However, other agencies have concurrent jurisdiction in many cases. We make efforts to encourage other agencies taking reports to notify us so the incident can be reflected in the annual crime reports, and while there has been a history of excellent cooperation and data sharing among local law enforcement agencies in Doña Ana County, the cooperation from state and federal agencies in sharing this type of data is not as strong, due in large part to secrecy requirements by those agencies.

“These agencies generally don’t investigate crimes on campus, though, so we believe the data in the report is pretty comprehensive,” he added.

From 2006-2008, no murders, or hate crimes were reported on campus. Aside from robbery and arson, all areas reported a decline in incidences from 2007 to 2008. Four robberies were reported in 2008, where none had been reported the previous two years, and arsons increased from one report to three reports in the same time period, matching the total arson incidences reported from 2006.

Statistics on fires and fire responses other than arson are managed by the NMSU Fire and Emergency Services Department, which also publishes the Annual Fire Safety Report, available online at http://www.fire.nmsu.edu/docs/Annual_Report.pdf.

In all, the past three years have seen reports of 165 burglaries, 51 motor vehicle thefts, 22 aggravated assaults, 12 rapes, seven arsons and four robberies.

“It is important to note that the annual report contains the data for the Las Cruces and DACC campuses combined,” said Lopez. “It’s impossible to allocate crimes to one campus or the other when so many of the facilities, like housing and parking lots, are shared. Even arrests made on campus streets are complicated, since many of our streets run by or through both campuses. This makes comparisons to single campus colleges and universities across News Mexico and the country inaccurate.”

Lopez noted that additional cautions regarding comparisons of colleges and universities based on crime statistics may be found on the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports Web site (http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2008/about/variables_affecting_crime.html).

Individual printed copies of the report may be requested from the NMSU Police Department by e-mailing police@nmsu.edu.

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