UNM offering safety service to students

Posted at: 02/06/2013 10:43 PM
Updated at: 02/07/2013 11:46 AM
By: Jill Galus, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Two separate groping cases within a week on UNM's campus have school police stepping up security. 

Students are encouraged to use the school-sponspored escorts to get across campus, especially after dark.

UNM police said in a news conference Tuesday afternoon, "There's no reason for students to be walking across campus at night if they don't feel safe."

The non-emergency escort service, which can be reached at 505-277-2241, will pick up students any day of the week, even weekends, between 4 p.m. and 7 a.m.

Wednesday night, KOB Eyewitness News 4 put the service to the test, and tagged along with two students to see how long it takes to get a ride.

Freshman Jacqueline Cai had just gotten out of biology lab on the south side of campus around 7:30 p.m. "It's scary, I mean you go to class and you worry about your class, and you come back and you're like, who am I going to walk with," Cai said.

KOB stood by as she called UNM's free escort service for a ride. She told the dispatcher she was by the architecture library and bookstore and needed a ride back to her dorm. Cai waited about 12 minutes from the time she placed the call until someone arrived to pick her up. 

Across campus, freshman Katarina Pacheco had also just gotten out of class.  She too did not want to walk alone, where it is not always easy to see what is around the corner. "Especially now, I didn't really notice it before but now that there's been gropings, you're kinda aware of it," Pacheco said.

She too called the escort number for a ride back to her dorm. Three minutes later, she was on her way. "I felt a lot safer doing that than walking by myself," Pacheco said.

But Cai, who had a longer wait time, had mixed feelings. "I think that took awhile, a lot could happen in 12 minutes actually, so I was a little disappointed but at least they still came," Cai said.

Officers patrol UNM campus all hours of the day and night.

KOB checked with UNMPD and was told the time it takes to pick up a student depends on where an officer is located on campus at the time the call comes in, which may explain the different wait times for each of the girls.

UNMPD advises students wait inside a building by the front doors until the escort arrives.