ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque has a reputation as a place where cars are always at risk of being stolen, and that includes the University of New Mexico campus. Now things are turning around for car crimes at UNM.
Last year, KRQE News 13 reported UNM ranked number one in the nation for most car thefts on campus. That number of car thefts has declined about 40%, and now, the parking lots on campus are about to get something that could drive that rate even lower.
“My car got broken into and almost stolen a couple of days ago actually, and it took forever to get fixed,” said UNM freshman Matti Dosher.
Students at UNM said outside of exams, they worry about their cars and wonder if they’ll be the next victim of auto theft.
“The door was…the locking mechanism was broken and they almost got away with it,” said Dosher. “But the alarm kept going off so I think that’s what scared them away.”
“I’ll come out here and see glass on the ground from broken windows and I see people that have to have locks on their steering wheels, so it’s always kind of a worry,” said UNM junior Ameereh Thomas.
UNM Police said after years of rampant car thefts, things are finally turning around.
“We saw a significant decrease in the auto theft numbers which we are happy to see,” said UNMPD spokesperson Lt. Trace Peck.
Comparing 208 to 2017, there were 89 fewer car thefts on campus. A big part of that reduction was from using bait cars, and now, UNM is about to take it a step further. They’re getting 200 security cameras for their parking lots and garages.
“With that new technology, we’ll be able to read a license plate going through the parking lots, which will be a huge deterrent,” said Lt. Peck.
The cameras will be placed in 39 lots and they won’t come cheap. They’ll cost $3 million. Students who KRQE News 13 spoke with believe these cameras will stop that kind of crime and give them peace of mind.
“I think it will help,” said Dosher.
“Having extra cameras provide an extra feeling of safety and security, it’s a relief I guess,” said Thomas.
The Board of Regents will sign off on buying those cameras at Tuesday’s meeting. KRQE News 13 is told this was on UNM’s wish list from the legislature. It’s still not clear when the new cameras will be installed.