The following news article was published on July 29 by the on line news outlet ABQReports and was written by its editor Dennis Domrzalski:
HEADLINE: Auto theft falls in ABQ; Metro Area drops to second place
July 29, 2020 by Dennis Domrzalski
There’s some good news for Albuquerque on the crime front, and that is that auto thefts in the four-county metro area are down in actual numbers and in the rate of thefts per 100,000 residents. According to a new report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau, auto thefts in the metro area totaled 6,399 in 2019, a 10 percent drop from 2018, and a 36 percent decline from 2016 when auto thefts peaked at 10,001.
And, in 2019 the metro area, which includes Bernalillo, Sandoval, Valencia and Torrance counties, lost its title as the car theft capital of the nation, falling to second place behind Bakersfield, Calif. Last year, Bakersfield had 726 auto thefts per 100,000 residents, while the Albuquerque area had 697 per 100,000 people. Albuquerque had been the nation’s auto theft leader since 2016.
According to the NICB, car theft is down nationally. “For the last two years, auto thefts nationally have fallen according to the latest ‘Hot Spots’ report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau,” the NICB said. “The NICB report for 2019, the most recent data available, showed national thefts topped out at 794,019, down from 819,988 in 2018 and 833,740 in 2017.”
The bad news is that New Mexico is the nation’s top state for auto theft.
“Like the national rate, New Mexico has also witnessed consecutive years of declining thefts, however the state tops the list with a theft rate near 448 vehicles per 100,000 people,” the NICB said. “Similarly, Bakersfield, California saw a decline from 2018 to 2019, however it moved from number three to the number one Metropolitan Statistical Area. California has the dubious distinction of placing 10 in the top 20 nationally.”
Albuquerque Police Department spokesman Gilbert Gallegos said the decrease in auto thefts is due to the hard work of APD officers. Here’s a news release Gallegos issued on Wednesday:
The Albuquerque Police Department continues to drive down auto thefts, as a new national ranking shows the metro area moved out of the top spot for vehicle theft rates for the first time in years. APD has worked with the state Office of Superintendent of Insurance and the New Mexico State Police to target auto theft.
“This dubious distinction has been a sore spot for Albuquerque, so we’re actually glad that we finally climbed out of the number one ranking for the first time in years,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “While it shows just how deep the hole is that we’re working to get out of, this progress is a result of the hard work of officers to cut auto theft by over a third. We clearly still have challenges but hopefully residents will continue to see the positive changes.”
Since 2016, the metro area, which includes a four-county region, was ranked worst for auto theft, according to the Hot Spot report by the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
The new report, based on 2019 data and released this month, shows the Albuquerque metro area with 697 thefts per 100,000 people. That represents an 11% decrease from 2018, and a 36% decrease over the past two years, according to the NICB report based on data from the National Crime Information Center.
The NICB’s Hot Spots report examines vehicle theft data obtained from the National Crime Information Center for each of the nation’s Metropolitan Statistical Areas. These are designated by the Office of Management and Budget and often include municipalities other than the cities for which Metropolitan Statistical Areas are named. For example, Bakersfield, CA includes the entire county of Kern, not just the city of Bakersfield.
Here’s a look at the metro area’s auto theft history over the years [as compiled by the national Insurance Bureau]
Four County Metro Areas
2007 – 6,845
2008 – 6,182
2009 – 4,815
2010 – 3,862
2011 – 3,861
2012 – 3,730
2014 – 4004
2015 – 4754
2016 – 6,657
2018 – 9,989
2019 – 7,146
2020 – 6,399
Albuquerque Auto Thefts per 100,000 residents
2007 – 820
2008 – 730
2009 – 561
2010 – 435
2011 – 430
2012 – 414
2014 – 443
2015 – 525
2016 – 733
2018 – 1,096
2019 – 780
2020 – 697
Here is a look at the ABQ Metro Area’s rank in auto thefts among U.S. metro areas over the years.
And here’s a look at New Mexico’s four major metro areas for 2019:
City National Rank No. of Thefts Rate per 100,000 Residents
Albuquerque: National Rank: 2; No. of Thefts: 6,399; Rate per 100,000 Residents: 697
Las Cruces: National Rank: 93; No. of Thefts: 603; Rate per 100,000 Residents: 276
Santa Fe: National Rank: 121; No. of Thefts: 371; Rate per 100,000 Residents: 247
Farmington: National Rank: 236 No. of Thefts: 188; Rate per 100,000 Residents: 152
As a population-based survey, an area with a much smaller population can have a higher theft rate than an area with a greater number of thefts. Creating a theft rate, or number of thefts per 100,000 people, enables analysts to compare large regions, such as Los Angeles, with small regions, such as Hot Springs, Arkansas.
The link to the Alb Reports with graphs article is here:
A link to Albuquerque Journal coverage can be found here:
CORRECTED STATISTICS FOR 2018
Mayor Tim Keller can take very little comfort with Albuquerque’s rankings when it comes to auto theft given the city’s rising high crime rates in all other categories. On Thursday, July 2, 2020, APD officials held a press conference to release the Albuquerque crime statistics for 2019. A report on the city’s crime statistics had not occurred for over a year because it was discovered that Mayor Keller during his first 18 months in office had disseminated false statistics as a result of a change in computer software categories to comply with FBI crime reporting.
In February, 2019 APD reported very different numbers to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting program. The data reported showed violent crime had actually increased 3.7% between 2017 and 2018 during Keller’s first full year in office driven by aggravated assaults.
The adjusted statistics released for the year 2018 reflected the following:
Aggravated assault increased 21%, rather than decreasing 8% as announced during Keller’s July, 2019 news conference.
Rape increased by 3%, rather than decreasing 3% reported by Keller.
Auto theft decreased 14%, not the 31% reported by Keller.
Homicides remained basically the same decreasing by a single murder.
Robbery decreased 32% and Keller reported it decreasing by 36%.
The final numbers for all of 2018 showed violent crime actually increased, and in many categories the crime rates only dropped in single digits and not the double digits reported by Mayor Keller. At an October meeting of the City Council, APD provided the revised statistics but failed to report that the numbers had changed drastically. Mayor Keller also did not hold any kind of a press conference to correct nor announce the corrected statistics.
The corrected statistics reported in October, 2019 for 2018 were as follow:
Auto burglaries decreased 16%, not the 38% as previously announced
Auto theft decreased 22%, not 39% as Keller reported
Commercial burglary decreased 3%, not the 27% Keller reported
Residential burglary decreased 16%, not 39% as Keller reported
Homicide decreased 2.5%, not 18%, but homicides have since increased substantially and the city has tied the all-time record of 71.
Rape decreased 3%, not the 29% Keller reported
Robbery decreased 30%, not 47% reported by Keller
Aggravated assault decreased 7.5%, not 33% reported by Keller
Aggravated assault increased 21%, rather than decreasing 8% as announced during Keller’s July news conference
Rape increased by 3%, rather than decreasing 3%
Auto theft decreased 14%, not the 31% reported by Keller
Homicides remained basically the same decreasing by a single murder
Robbery decreased 32% and Keller reported it decreasing by 36%
ABQ’S CRIME STATISTICS IN A NUTSHELL UNDER MAYOR KELLER
Given Mayor Keller’s words as to whose job it is to address crime, a synopsis of the statics during Mayor Tim Keller’s tenure is in order before the disclosure of the 2019 statistics by APD. The synopsis is required in order to focus on the statistics because the categories were changed to comply with FBI crime reporting.
In 2018, during Mayor Keller’s first full year in office, there were 69 homicides.
In 2019, during Mayor Keller’s second full year in office, there were 82 homicides. Albuquerque had more homicides in 2019 than in any other year in the city’s history. The previous high was 72, in 2017 under Mayor RJ Berry. Another high mark was in 1996, when the city had 70 homicides.
On July 14, 2020, it was reported that 5 homicide investigations had been commenced within 48 hours. As of July 14, there have been 33 homicides reported in Albuquerque for 2020.
HOMICIDE CLEARANCE RATES
For the past two years during Mayor Keller’s tenure, the homicide clearance percentage rate has been in the 50%-60% range. According to the proposed 2018-2019 APD City Budget, in 2016 the APD homicide clearance rate was 80%. In 2017, under Mayor Berry the clearance rate was 70%. In 2018, the first year of Keller’s term, the homicide clearance rate was 56%. In 2019, the second year of Keller’s term, the homicide clearance rate was 52.5%, the lowest clearance rate in the last decade.
In 2017, during Mayor RJ Berry’s last full year in office, there were 7,686 VIOLENT CRIMES. There were 4,213 Aggravated Assaults and 470 Non-Fatal Shootings.
In 2018 during Mayor Keller’ first full year in office, there were 6,789 violent crimes There were 3,885 Aggravated Assaults and 491 Non-Fatal Shootings.
In 2019, the category of “Violent Crimes” was replaced with the category of “Crimes Against Persons” and the category includes homicide, human trafficking, kidnapping and assault.
In 2019 during Keller’s second full year in office, Crimes Against Persons increased from 14,845 to 14,971, or a 1% increase. The Crimes Against Person category had the biggest rises in Aggravated Assaults increasing from 5,179 to 5,397.
“Crimes Against Society” include drug offenses, prostitution and animal cruelty.
In 2018 During Keller’s first full year in office, total Crimes Against Society were 3,365
In 2019 during Keller’s second full year in office, total Crimes Against Society increased to 3,711 for a total increase of 346 more crimes or a 9% increase.
On June 26, 2019 the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) released its annual list of cities with the most stolen vehicles reported. Despite a 28% reduction in auto thefts over a two-year period, Albuquerque ranked No. 1 in the nation for vehicle thefts per capita for the third year in a row.
On July 30, 2020, as reported above, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) reports that Albuquerque is now ranked #2 in the nation for auto theft.
911 EMERGENCY RESPONSE TIMES
In 2009, under Mayor Martin Chavez, the average 911 emergency response time to calls, whether it was a life or death emergency or a minor traffic crash,was 8 minutes 50 seconds.
In 2011, under Mayor RJ Berry the average response times to 911 emergency calls was 25 minutes.
In 2018 and 2019, under Mayor Tim Keller, the average response times to 911 emergency calls spiked to 48 minutes.
The 2019 crime statistics released during the July 2 press conference revealed the following:
Overall Crime decreased in 2019. The reduction was driven by “Crimes Against Property” which include burglary, fraud, robbery and motor vehicle theft. Between 2018 and 2019, there was a single digit 7% drop, not a double digit drop as reported by Keller, in overall crime, from 75,538 incidents to 70,223.
CRIMES AGAINST PERSONS
Crimes against persons include homicide, human trafficking, kidnapping and assault, remained constant.
Crimes Against Persons increased from 14,845 to 14,971, or a 1% increase.
The Crimes Against Person category had the biggest rises of the 3 categories as follows:
Aggravated Assaults increased from 5,179 to 5,397.
In Homicide Offenses, justifiable homicides decreased from 16 to 6
There was a rise in “Negligent Manslaughter” from 3 to 8.
Statutory rape jumped from 1 incident to 10 incidents.
There were 80 murders reported in 2019, compared to 69 to 2018, both years Keller has been in office.
CRIMES AGAINST SOCIETY
Crimes Against Society include drug offenses, prostitution and animal cruelty.
In 2018 During Keller’s first full year in office, total Crimes Against Society were 3,365 and increased 2019 during his second year to 3,711 for a total increase of 346 more crimes or a 9% increase.
Crimes Against Society had the biggest jumps in drug offenses, from 2,515 to 2,796, Animal Cruelty Offenses went from 11 to 32. There was a decrease in prostitution offenses from 130 to 70.
CRIMES AGAINST PROPERTY
Total Crimes Against Property in 2018 were 57,328 and in 2019 51, 541 for a total reduction of 5,787 or a 10% reduction.
The largest drops in property crime were in Auto Theft, Burglary and Fraud offenses aside from identity theft, which skyrocketed from 7 to a whopping 437.
HOMICIDE CLEARANCE RATES OUT OF CONTROL
For the past two years during Keller’s tenure as mayor, the homicide clearance percentage rate has been in the 50%-60% range, a dramatic decline from previous years. According to the proposed 2018-2019 APD City Budget, in 2016 the APD homicide clearance rate was 80%. In 2017 the clearance rate was 70% and the clearance rate for 2018 was 56%. The clearance rate for 2019 is 52.5%, the lowest clearance rate in the last decade.
RESPONSE TIMES OUT OF CONTROL
The time it takes for APD to respond to priority 1 calls has a major impact on increasing physical injury to victims or callers. On February 20th KOAT TV Target 7 reported on an investigation into the Albuquerque Police Department’s (APD’s) response times. In 2011, the average response time to all calls, whether it was a life or death emergency or a minor traffic crash was 25 minutes. In 2019, that time period spiked to 48 minutes in the average response time. Since 2011, there has been a 93% increase in 911 response times with 48 minutes now being the average time of arrival.
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
In August, 2017, New Mexico State Auditor Tim Keller, candidate for Albuquerque Mayor, had this to say about crime:
“It’s unfortunate, but crime is absolutely out of control. It’s the mayor’s job to actually address crime in Albuquerque, and that’s what I want to do as the next mayor.”
In 2017, Candidate Tim Keller campaigned to get elected Mayor on the platform of implementing the Department of Justice (DOJ) mandated reforms, increasing the size of APD, returning to community-based policing and a promise to bring down skyrocketing crime rates.
Keller has already made it known he is seeking a second 4 year term as Mayor in 2021. Despite all of his new programs to combat violent crime, increases in budgets and millions spent, violent crime is still very much out of control. Simply put people do not feel safe in their own homes. Voters are very fickle and unforgiving when politicians make promises they do not or cannot keep. Sooner rather than later people demand and want results.
Mayor Keller no doubt sincerely thought he could do a better job than his predecessor and he could actually make a difference. The truth is, he has not and crime in the city has only become worse since Tim Keller has taken office, especially in terms of violent crime. Mayor Tim Keller can take very little comfort that the statistics show that auto theft is down and that Albuquerque is now ranked number 2 in auto thefts. What overshadows the #2 ranking in auto theft is that crime “is absolutely out of control.”