On March 30, 2019, the Albuquerque Police Department released the City’s crime statistics for the first quarter of 2019 which runs from January to March of 2019.
For the second time, APD reported that crime is continuing to drop from 10 years of historic highs in all major categories but nonfatal shootings are up.
Property crimes, robberies, auto thefts and auto burglaries all dropped.
Auto burglary decreased by 28%, auto theft decreased by 29%, and residential burglary decreased by 32% compared to last year’s numbers during the same time period.
Property crimes, like theft and burglaries, have had a 17% drop from 2017 to 2018 for the same time period last year.
The decline represents a dramatic decrease to the numbers reported last year.
The only bad news in the report was that the city saw an increase in nonfatal shootings.
According to the statistics, non-fatal shootings went up 12% and there have been 131 nonfatal shootings the first quarter of the year compared to last year’s number of 114.
The specific highlights in each category of crime are as follows:
Auto Burglary: down 28%
Auto Theft: down 29%
Commercial Burglary: down 2%
Residential Burglary: down 32%
Homicide: down 24%
Rape: down 7%
Robbery: down 22%
Aggravated Assault: down 4%
The Keller Administration and APD intends to announce a new program that will deal with “violent crime” in the context of it being a “mental health issue” and dealing with crimes involving guns in an effort to bring down violent crime in Albuquerque.
According to city officials, APD will announce the creation of a new unit that will track violent crime relying on the same methods used to track auto thefts, weekly reports summarizing shootings, refining policies, and learning from best practices used by other law enforcement agencies.
ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY.
This is the second quarter that APD has reported a major decrease in the city’s skyrocketing crime rates.
The fact that it is the second time the statistics show a decline in crime rates indicates a clear downward trend is emerging and that the first quarterly report reflecting a decline was not just a fluke and not a stroke of good luck.
Since this time last year, the number of sworn police has gone from 850 and it is projected that APD will have approximately 980 by July of this year because of an aggressive recruitment program and increases in police pay.
APD is projecting that it will have 980 officers by next summer by growing the ranks with both new cadets, lateral hires from other departments, and returning to work APD retirees.
Police officers patrolling the streets making more traffic stops and APD’s concentrated effort to reduce robberies and auto theft has led to a reduction in robberies, car theft, and burglaries.
Bringing down violent crime involving guns, such as murders and domestic violence, is always more difficult because of issues such as inadequate mental health care and substance abuse problems.
Domestic violence is clearly the most difficult category to bring down when it comes to violent crime because of the “cycle of violence” involved with such crimes.
All too often in domestic violence cases, the abused decline to charge and prosecute and return to their partner or spouse with the “cycle of violence” continuing.
New Mexico has ranked among the top 10 states with the highest rates of women killed by men during the last decade.
On September 16, 2017, according to an annual study published by the Violence Policy Center, it was reported women are more likely to be killed by men in New Mexico than nearly any other state.
The study found the state has the 10th-highest rate of women killed by men, marking the third straight year New Mexico had appeared toward the top of the list, while New Mexico’s overall homicide rate ranked lower.
Statics in Albuquerque show that after about the 10th or 11th time there is a call out of the Albuquerque Police Department to a home for domestic violence, it is usually to pick a woman up in a body bag.
Albuquerque’s dirty little secret is that domestic violence is the number-one reason why a woman is admitted to the emergency room of the University of New Mexico Hospital.
The 2019 New Mexico Legislature passed Senate Bill 328 which prohibits gun possession by someone who’s subject to an order of protection under the Family Violence Protection Act.
Under the enacted legislation domestic abusers must surrender their firearms to law enforcement.
The gun possession prohibition also applies to people convicted of other crimes such as battery on a household member.
APD should now concentrate on and target domestic violence to bring down violent crime, not to mention to save people’s lives.