On Monday, September 24, 2018 the FBI released its “Crime in the United States” report providing the statistics on all the crimes reportedly committed in Albuquerque and New Mexico in 2017 and comparing the statistics to other cities and states and providing national rankings.
Since 2010, violent felony crime rates and property crime rates have steadily increased in Albuquerque and in New Mexico.
According to the FBI report, the increase in crime in both the New Mexico and Albuquerque continued in 2017.
However, there is a bright spot for Albuquerque when the preliminary statistics for 2018 show a decline in crime rates.
CRIME RATE STATISTICS FOR 2017
In 2016 and again in 2017, New Mexico had the country’s highest per capita rate of property crime and the second-highest per capita rate of violent crime.
According to the annual report released, the number of violent crimes in the specific categories of murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault, in Albuquerque increased by 23% in 2017 even though the City’s population remained essentially the same.
The 23% overall all increase in Albuquerque’s violent crime for 2017 is larger than the 2016 increase when violent crime rose 15.5 percent.
In 2016, there were a reported 6,245 violent crimes in Albuquerque, for a rate of 1,112 per 100,000 residents.
In 2017, the number of violent crimes in Albuquerque jumped to 7,686, for a rate of 1,369 per 100,000.
The property crimes of burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft increased by 7 percent from 38,528 to 41,350, for a rate of 7,366 per 100,000 residents.
In 2016, the spike property crimes was significantly higher with a whopping 41.8 percent increase.
The increase in crime for the entire State of New Mexico as compared to Albuquerque was not as severe.
Statewide, violent crime rates rose by 12 percent and property crime rates were up by 0.5 percent in 2017.
The FBI reported that New Mexico had 16,359 violent crimes reported and 82,306 property crimes reported in 2017.
All the statistics for New Mexico and Albuquerque are in sharp contrast with national trends that crime is going down in the United States as a whole.
According to the FBI report summary, in 2015 and 2016, violent crime had been increasing across the United States but in 2017, violent crime decreased 0.2% with the overall rate falling 0.9% percent.
In the United States as a whole, the property crime rated dropped for the 15th straight year, decreasing by 3% across the country.
Nationally, the crime rate is 383 violent offenses per 100,000 residents and 2,362 property crimes per 100,000 residents.
Albuquerque’s violent crime and property crime rates are more than triple the national crime rates.
When you compare Albuquerque’s crime rates with the similar-sized Western cities of El Paso, Colorado Springs, Tucson and Oklahoma City, Albuquerque outpaces them in rates of both violent and property crime.
El Paso for example has 127,000 more residents than Albuquerque, but El Paso had one-third the number of violent crimes and property crimes.
According to FBI statistics, the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office reported 916 violent crimes and 2,640 property crimes outside of the Albuquerque Police Department’s jurisdiction in 2017.
This is a 20 percent increase in violent crime and a 6 percent decrease in property crime from the previous year.
The one and only category of crime that decreased in Albuquerque from 2016 to 2017 was auto theft, dropping from 7,710 to 7,684.
Notwithstanding, the decline in auto thefts in Albuquerque did little to improve the city’s national standing for 2017.
According to data released over the summer from the National Insurance Crime Bureau, Bernalillo and surrounding counties were No. 1 in rates of stolen motor vehicles for the second year in a row.
PRELIMINARY STATISTICS FOR 2018 SHOW A DECLINE IN CRIME RATES
On July 19, 2018, the Albuquerque Police Department released the city’s crime statistics for the first half of 2018 (January to June) comparing them to the first half of 2017, (January to June).
Looking at the raw numbers for 2018, property crime is down, but it’s the homicide rate that continues to be alarming.
Here’s a look at the crime stats for the first quarter of 2018 compared to the same period last year:
Change: -15.7 %
AUTO THEFTS DOWN
It is very good news that auto burglary went down 31% and that auto thefts went down by 16%.
On July 14, 2018, it was reported that for the year 2017, that Albuquerque was ranked number one in auto thefts in the country for the second year in a row.
The decline in auto thefts and auto burglaries for the first 6 months of this year is a clear indication that the “Bernalillo County Auto Theft Suppression Effort” is having an impact.
On March 21, 2018, it was announced that the Albuquerque Police Department, Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office and New Mexico State Police were joining forces to address the city’s and the county’s out of control auto theft rates calling it the “Bernalillo County Auto Theft Suppression Effort”.
The auto theft suppression effort includes tactical operations that combine technology, resources, manpower and intelligence from all three of the law enforcement agencies to arrest more suspects and recover more stolen vehicles.
MURDER RATE STILL ALARMING
There were 6 more murders in the first quarter of 2018 compared with 2017 which was a 50% increase.
Homicides have now dropped the first half of 2018 by 18% compared to last year which is great news.
Non-fatal shootings for the first quarter of this year had a 0% change from last year, but now have increased by +5% for the first half of 2018.
Property crimes by far are more common than non-fatal shooting and murders.
The fact is, murders do not drive property crime trends, but it is the other way around.
A murder is usually committed when another crime is being committed such as armed robbery or domestic violence or it’s a crime committed in the heat of anger and a gun is readily available.
It’s difficult at best to bring down homicide rates, but it can be done when you bring down other violent crime such as armed robbery, aggravated assaults, illicit drug offenses and domestic violence.
In March of this year, 5 homicides were reported in six days!
Albuquerque has had 39 homicides the first 6 months of this year as compared to 33 murders for the same time period last year.
Albuquerque is still on track to break the all-time high of 70 murders by the end of the year.
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
Given the City’s and the states crime rates, it is not at all difficult to see why we are having a difficult time in attracting new businesses to the City and State and diversifying our economy.
There is no business that would ever want to relocate to the City and State if they have to issue guns to their employees to protect themselves from violent crime and property crime.
Candidates for Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and Steve Pearce need to put forth viable platforms to solve our rising crime rates.
For more on Albuquerque Crime rates see: