UNM police searching for rape suspect; students on high alert
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – University of New Mexico students were on high alert this past week after a concerning safety alert went out from UNM police.
The Lobo Alert stated that a man reported he was sexually assaulted by another male inside a bathroom at Dane Smith Hall Thursday night.
“I was actually on my way to the gym and my roommate texted me as I was on my way out the door, and she was like, ‘Hey, please, please be careful. I just got this text,’” said Nikki Thomas, a UNM student.
UNMPD is still investigating the incident but says the suspect was in his mid 20s wearing a gray polo and blue jeans. They also confirmed it was targeted.
“After further investigation, we have determined that it was not a random act. So while the case is under investigation, I want to ensure everybody that the community’s safety is our top priority,” said UNMPD Lt. Larry Bitsoih.
While being alert and prepared isn’t always enough, UNMPD is reminding people of safety measures in place. For example, the blue light phones many see at UNM.
Anyone can pick up the phone and be directly connected to dispatch. They will then send officers to your location. The LoboGuardian app also has a feature to turn your smartphone into a blue light phone if you’re on the move.
“I guess kind of a reminder that safety is a big issue and that it does get serious. Usually, I am mostly concerned about safety outside, but it is interesting to see that it is an issue in the insides of buildings too,” said Sydney, another UNM student.
Despite the alert, students KOB 4 spoke to say they feel relatively safe on campus, but the buildings on the outskirts of campus are a different story sometimes.
“I think internally the campus tends to be pretty safe, but especially on the outsides, I have heard of Dane Smith having some problems, especially last semester,” Sydney said.
“I never walk around with full headphones on because obviously if you can’t hear what is going on around you there is higher potential. I also have a very heavy keychain in case I have to use it, and I keep pepper spray on me at all times,” said Thomas.