Crime Down Slightly In NM And In ABQ; Pandemic Major Contributing Cause

On November 1, it was reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) issued its annual “Crime in the United States Report” for 2019. The FBI collects crime data from law enforcement agencies across the country using a uniform data collection process.

Effective January 2021, the FBI is requiring law enforcement agencies to change their crime data collection from the Summary Reporting System (SRS) to the National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS). According to the Department of Public Safety several jurisdictions in New Mexico, including Albuquerque, Aztec, Bloomfield, Hobbs, Las Cruces and Sunland Park police departments and Bernalillo, Doña Ana and San Juan County sheriff’s offices, have gone from SRS to NIBRS system.

Summary Reporting System (SRS) broke violent crime into four categories and property crime into four categories. SRS index crimes are recorded in a hierarchical fashion. Only the most serious crime is counted whenever multiple offenses are committed in a single incident. Given this “hierarchy rule,” and the fact that many crimes, especially less serious ones, go unreported, the crime index necessarily under-represents the true volume of crimes committed. Nevertheless, the index is a useful indicator of the volume and types of crimes reported to police.

The National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS) is an incident-based reporting system for crimes known to the police. For each crime incident coming to the attention of law enforcement, a variety of data are collected about the incident. These data include the nature and types of specific offenses in the incident, characteristics of the victim(s) and offender(s), types and value of property stolen and recovered, and characteristics of persons arrested in connection with a crime incident. Incident-based data provide an extremely large amount of information about crime. The information is also organized in complex ways, reflecting the many different aspects of a crime incident.

The NIBRS format divides incidents into “crimes against persons,” “crimes against property” and “crimes against society” and includes a total of 32 crimes, some of which are further divided into even more specific categories.


The good news is that for the first time in several years, both violent crime and property crime appeared to dip in New Mexico. The bad news is that crime rates in New Mexico remain much higher than the national average. The data is also misleading because Albuquerque’s property crime data is not included because the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) overreported burglaries. Also not included in the 2019 report is data from Bernalillo County, Doña Ana County and 8 other counties and a few other cities are not included in the 2019 FBI report.

According to APD spokesman Gilbert Gallegos, the problem with APD over reporting burglaries was a result a data compilation change regarding apartments and storage sheds. APD reported more than 80 burglaries, accounting for break-ins at each storage unit across 3 facilities. It should have counted each facility that was broken into, not each unit. APD has since corrected the data but it was not included in the data Albuquerque submitted to the FBI for its annual report.

It is unknown whether crime actually decreased from 2018 to 2019 because some jurisdictions were not reported or fully reported according to a spokesman for the New Mexico Department of Public Safety.


Violent crime and property crime rates decreased across the country last year. The national violent crime rate decreased 1% from 2018 to 2019 and the national property crime rate decreased 4.5%.

The national crime rates are much lower than New Mexico’s. The estimated violent crime rate in the United States is 366.7 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants, less than half the New Mexico rate of violent crime.

Nationwide, the estimated property crime rate is 2,109.9 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants, two-thirds of New Mexico’s rate.

It was in 2014 that both the violent crime and property crime rates began to increase in New Mexico in 2014. From 2014 to 2018 violent crime rates spiked 43%. From 2014 to 2017, property crime increased 11% then began to fall.

According to the FBI, violent crime began decreasing nationally three years before 2019, and property crime began decreasing 17 years prior.


Major highlights in the FBI’s Crime in the United States Report include the following:
Across New Mexico, the violent crime rate was 2.7% lower than last year. There were 832.2 crimes per 100,000 in 2019 compared to 856.6 crimes per 100,000 in 2018.

Property crime rate was 8.9% lower with 3112.7 crimes per 100,000 in 2019 compared with 3,419.7 crimes per 100,000 in 2018.

In 2019, 17,450 violent crimes were reported throughout New Mexico including murder, rape, robbery and assault.

In 2019, 65,269 property crimes were reported, including burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft.

According to the FBI annual report, although fewer violent crimes were reported in New Mexico in 2019 than the year before, more murder and non-negligent manslaughters were reported. Statewide, there were 14 more murders in 2019 than in 2018. Albuquerque reported 15 more murders in 2019 than in the previous year. In 2019, the city had a record high of 84 cases of murder or non-negligent manslaughter.


On Monday, September 21, the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) released the city’s crime statistics using the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS). It is the new system the FBI will require of all police departments use in their annual reports starting in 2021. According to APD, this is the third year APD has used NIBRS and for that reason the city cannot compare pre-2018 crime statistics to 2018 statistics and later.
According to the statistics release, crime is down by 5% across all categories in the first six months of 2020 as compared with the first six months of 2019. The good news is APD reported that crime has decreased 15% since 2018. The bad news is that in some cases, the improvements this year were minuscule.

The NIBRS format divides incidents into “crimes against persons,” “crimes against property” and “crimes against society” and includes a total of 32 crimes, some of which are further divided into even more specific categories.

CRIMES AGAINST PERSONS: Under NIBRS, all violent crime combined is called “Crimes Against Persons”. The crimes include murder, deadly weapons assault and injury and rape. The decreases in “violent crime” from 2019 to 2020 was a decrease by only 21 crimes or a 0.28%. Over a two year, it decreased 4%. According to the FBI statistics released, there were 7,362 crimes against persons reported in the first six months of 2020 and there were 152 more in the second quarter than in the first.

CRIMES AGAINST PROPERTY: Under NIBRS, “Crimes Against Property”, which includes arson, burglary, motor vehicle theft, larceny, robbery, and more, have decreased 6% from 2019 to 2020, but decreased by 19% since 2018. There were 24,052 crimes against property reported in the first half of 2020, with about 2,000 more in the first quarter than in the second.

CRIMES AGAINST SOCIETY: Under NIBRS, “Crimes Against Society” include animal cruelty, drug offenses, prostitution, weapon law violations and more. Crimes against society have decreased 8% from 2019 to 2020, and 12% from 2018 to 2020. There were a total of 1,644 crimes against society reported in the first half of 2020, with 130 more in the first quarter than in the second.

According to APD Spokesman Gilbert Gallegos:

“Rape and robbery were down, but aggravated assault was up slightly. … The one difference is Albuquerque’s homicide rate was down while most major cities [reported]increases in homicides. However, we have since seen an increase in homicides in the third quarter.”


Following is the raw data gleaned from the 2020 mid-year crime statistics:


Crimes Against Property: 24,052
Crimes Against Persons: 7,362
Crimes Against Society: 1,644


1st Quarter: 13,035
2nd Quarter: 11, 007
Mid-Year Albuquerque Police Department: 24,052


1st Quarter: 3,605
2nd Quarter: 3,57
Mid-Year Albuquerque Police Department: 7,362


1st Quarter: 887
2nd Quarter: 757
Mid-Year Albuquerque Police Department: 1,644

The link to Albuquerque’s mid-year crime statistics report is here:


New Mexico and Albuquerque residents can take very small comfort from the released statistics that reveal that overall crime in the state and the city are down slightly The pandemic certainly is a contributing reason for lower property crime rates and many other crimes. The slight reduction in crime can be easily attributed the pandemic that hit the state and the city hard in February resulting in quarantine, major event cancellations not to mention the closure of thousands of businesses closed for several months. In others words, people being home, malls and businesses being closed means opportunities for criminals were reduced, businesses could not be robbed or have shoplifters, homes could not be robbed and many cars were parked in garages reducing auto thefts.

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Pete Dinelli was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is of Italian and Hispanic descent. He is a 1970 graduate of Del Norte High School, a 1974 graduate of Eastern New Mexico University with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and a 1977 graduate of St. Mary's School of Law, San Antonio, Texas. Pete has a 40 year history of community involvement and service as an elected and appointed official and as a practicing attorney in Albuquerque. Pete and his wife Betty Case Dinelli have been married since 1984 and they have two adult sons, Mark, who is an attorney and George, who is an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Pete has been a licensed New Mexico attorney since 1978. Pete has over 27 years of municipal and state government service. Pete’s service to Albuquerque has been extensive. He has been an elected Albuquerque City Councilor, serving as Vice President. He has served as a Worker’s Compensation Judge with Statewide jurisdiction. Pete has been a prosecutor for 15 years and has served as a Bernalillo County Chief Deputy District Attorney, as an Assistant Attorney General and Assistant District Attorney and as a Deputy City Attorney. For eight years, Pete was employed with the City of Albuquerque both as a Deputy City Attorney and Chief Public Safety Officer overseeing the city departments of police, fire, 911 emergency call center and the emergency operations center. While with the City of Albuquerque Legal Department, Pete served as Director of the Safe City Strike Force and Interim Director of the 911 Emergency Operations Center. Pete’s community involvement includes being a past President of the Albuquerque Kiwanis Club, past President of the Our Lady of Fatima School Board, and Board of Directors of the Albuquerque Museum Foundation.