UNM’s crime problem is well-documented, as it has more car thefts than any other school in the country. Now, it’s spending millions of dollars on security upgrades, including surveillance cameras.
“All the cameras that we’re installing will feed back to the UNM Police Department,” UNMPD Security Director Randy Irwin said about the cameras currently being placed in busy parts of UNM, like Smith Plaza, and eventually around UNM’s perimeter where trouble tends to wander onto campus.
Additionally, Irwin said the school is requesting $3 million from the legislature for 235 cameras at the surface parking lots around campus.
“I would feel a lot safer knowing there’s cameras around,” UNM student Bethany Gallegos said. “I know that would probably also help car thefts on campus.”
“It has been an ongoing project,” Irwin said. “It takes a good deal of time to do assessments and design for all of the parking lots around campus.”
Working to secure the funding is part of UNM President Garnett Stoke’s initiative to increase security campus-wide.
In fact, the school sets aside $500,000 a year in annual funding for security upgrades that goes to everything from extra lighting around campus, like at the duck pond and by the chapel, to paying for the new security director.
“Around campus at night there’s only certain lit areas so I think it needs more lighting, for sure,” UNM student Amaia Bracamontes said.
The school is hoping to finish installing all the on-campus cameras by the summer.
UNM won’t know until the next legislative session if it will get the funding for the parking lot cameras.
UNM also wants to hire more police officers, but it’s still evaluating how many it can afford.
According to the school’s transparency site, the police department has 40 police officers.
Before these most recent camera additions, Irwin said the school previously had about 500 cameras installed at buildings across campus, and more in some parking garages.