On Wednesday March 29, the 2021 the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) released the 2021 crime statistics as compiled by the Federal Bureau Investigation (FBI) in its annual Crime in the United States report. It was the fourth full year in a row that the annual crime statistics released used the FBI National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS). The FBI Based Reporting System uses 3 broad categories of crime as opposed to the SRA system that used 8 major crimes. The postscript to this bog article explains the difference between NIBRS and SRS.
In 2018, APD along with other law enforcement departments across the country, switched the format mandated by the FBI for its annual crime report published each fall. Under NIBRS, there are 52 subcategories spread throughout crimes against persons, crimes against property and crimes against society. Each crime committed during an incident is counted.
Before the change from the SRS to NIMBS, both violent crime and property crime had been rising steadily since in 2015, with large jumps in auto theft, homicides, assaults and robberies
The three major categories of crime statistics under NIBRS are:
1. Crime against persons
2. Crimes against property
3 Crimes against society
2020 FBI UNIFIED CRIME REPORTS
According to the 2020 FBI Unified Crime Reports:
Albuquerque had a crime rate of 194% higher than the national average.
Albuquerque’s Violent Crime Index for 2020 was 346% of the national average.
Albuquerque Property Crime Index for 2020 was 256% of the national average.
The link to the 2020 FBI Unified Crime Reports for New Mexico is here:
2018 to 2021 CRIME STATISTICS COMPARED
Following is a nutshell breakdown of Albuquerque’s 2018 to 2021 crime statistics
In 2021, according to data released on March 30 by APD, total crimes in Albuquerque increased by 0.85%. The less than 1% increase was the first time since 2018 that crime was reported to have increased overall. Since 2018, APD has said that there was a 19% drop in property crime, which drove a decrease in overall crime, even as violent crime spiked across Albuquerque. The 0.85% increase in overall crime came after the city recorded decreases of 7% and 6% in 2019 and 2020 in overall crime. Those decreases were attributed to back-to-back drops of 10% in property crimes.
CRIMES AGAINST PERSONS
Crimes Against Persons include murder, rape, and assault, and are those in which the victims are always individuals. Following are the reported totals in Crimes Against Persons for the last 4 years:
Violent crime increased or has stayed relatively constant for the last 4 years. In 2021, Violent Crime, known as crimes against persons, saw increases in all but four categories. Violent crime continued to rise and went up 3% which is largest annual increase since 2018. APD’s data shows the steepest increase were in homicide with an increase of 53%, intimidation with an increase of 20% and aggravated assault with an increase of 5%.
In 2021, gun violations along with homicide and fraud, saw the largest increases. APD’s data shows the steepest increase were in homicide with a 53% increase, intimidation with a 20% increase and aggravated assault with a 5% increase, all of which reached their highest levels since 2018.
APD Chief Medina said gun violations went up after gun ownership “exploded” during the pandemic, leading to more gun thefts from cars and homes and, in general, more people being armed. Medina had this to say regarding the increase in gun violations:
“Eventually, at some point in time, we’ve come across a lot of people with those firearms, and we start making those arrests … It’s just a combination of more guns in the community, officers being proactive and us taking the guns off the streets.”
Sex offenses also jumped 15% as simple assault decreased by 11% and kidnapping decreased by 5%. Gun violations went up after gun ownership “exploded” during the pandemic, leading to more gun thefts from cars and homes and, in general, more people being armed.
Sex offenses increased by 15% as simple assault decreased by 11% and kidnapping decreased by 5%.
FOUR YEARS OF HISTORICAL HIGH HOMICIDES
In 2018 there were 69 homicides. In 2019, there were 82 homicides. Albuquerque had more homicides in 2019 than in any other year in the city’s history before that. The previous high was in 2017 when 72 homicides were reported. The previous high mark was in 1996, when the city had 70 homicides.
The year 2020 ended with 76 homicides, the second-highest count since 1996. The decline dropped the homicide rate from 14.64 per 100,000 people in 2019 to about 13.5 in 2020.
2021 ended with the city shattering the all-time record with 117 homicides in one year and a per capita murder rate of 20.8 per 100,000.
The final tally of murders in the city for 2021 is 117 and it shattered the previous 2019 record by 36 murders.
Following is the raw data breakdown for 2021:
Total Homicides: 117
Number of “justified homicides” excluded from total: 10
Per Capita Number: 20.8 per 100,000
Number of homicides Involving guns: 97
Number of cases solve or closed: 40
Oldest victim: 66
Youngest victim: 2
The link to quoted source material is here:
CITY’S HISTORICAL HOMICIDE CLEARANCE RATE HALF NATIONAL AVERAGE
Each year since 1995, the FBI has released annually its Crime In The United States Report which included homicide clearance rates. Following are the national homicide clearance rates for 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 as reported by the FBI:
In 2016: 59.4%. national clearance rate for murder
In 2017: 61.6% national clearance rate for murder
In 2018: 62.3% national clearance rate for murder
In 2019: 61.4% national clearance rate for murder
From 2019 to 2020, police across the country solved 1,200 more murders, a 14% increase. But murders rose twice as quickly by 30%. As a result, the homicide clearance rate, the percentage of crimes cleared, dropped to a historic low to about 1 of every 2 murders solved or by 50%.
For the years 2019 to 2021, the city’s 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, the clearance rate was 70%. In 2018, the homicide clearance rate was 56%. In 2019, the homicide clearance rate was 52.5%, the lowest clearance rate in the last decade. In 2020 APD’s clearance rate dropped to 50%. APD’ clearance rate has now dropped to 30%.
APD Deputy Commander Kyle Hartsock oversees the homicide unit. On January 20, Hartsock said APD is investigating 115 homicides from last year, including a missing persons case from Belen and of that number, only about 30% have been closed, which is an all-time record low for APD.
Links to news source material are here:
CRIMES AGAINST PROPERTY
Crimes Against Property include robbery, bribery, and burglary, or to obtain money, property, or some other benefit. Following are the Crimes Against Property for the last 4 years:
In 2018, property crime began to fall and for the past several years, has decreased. In 2021, property crime had its first increase of under 1%. Property crime saw its biggest jumps in reports of fraud and robbery. Notwithstanding the increase, property crime did see a large drop with a 15% drop in stolen property, a 10% drop in the category of “destruction, damage, vandalism” and a 7% drop in “larceny and theft offenses”. All three categories reached their lowest levels since 2018.
Fraud skyrocketed 61%, from 3,900 to 6,300 cases. According to APD, Fraud rose as APD cracked down on shoplifting, larceny and burglaries. APD said those with drug abuse issues moved away from those crimes and began to steal identities, checks and credit cards to fuel their drug addiction behavior. According to APD, auto theft rose by 6% and the rise was the first time in years.
Auto theft rose for the first time in years and went up by 6%. According to APD Chief Medina, the increase was attributed to an Internal Affairs investigation into the Auto Theft unit that opened in June 2021. The investigation caused the unit to “take a step back” and become “skittish” in enforcement.
CRIMES AGAINST SOCIETY
Crimes Against Society include gambling, prostitution, and drug violations, and represent society’s prohibition against engaging in certain types of activity and are typically victimless crimes. Crimes Against Property for the last 4 years is reported as follows:
According to the data released, crimes against society saw a large spike of 66% in gun violations which has gone up 218% since 2018 and drops of 26% and 63%, respectively, in drug offenses and prostitution. In 2021, prostitution, drug and stolen property offenses had the biggest decreases. Chief Medina attributed the slight increase in Crimes Against Society locally to internal investigation and technology lapses hindering auto theft enforcement, people with drug use issues committing more fraud and an increase in guns being taken off the streets.
APD CHIEF HAROLD MEDINA REACTS
Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina said Albuquerque is in the same situation as many other cities in the country and went so far as to blame bail bond reform. Surprisingly, Medina did not blame the increase of crime on the Federal Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA), that mandates 271 police reforms, as he has done in the past. Medina had this to say:
“We’re in line with a lot of national trends. We can’t expect to decrease every year. Our trends are still going down on the property crime side and our violent crime is still taking the same course as the rest of this country. … Every single major city chief is frustrated with the fact that we can’t keep people in custody and we have a revolving door in the criminal justice system and there has to be a middle ground. … We know the settlement agreement doesn’t cause crime to go up, but it does create a fear among our officers to be able to do their job and they aren’t as aggressive and proactive.”
CITY BUDGET PERFORMANC MEASURE STATISTICS REFLECT APD ARRESTS WENT DOWN
APD statistics for the city budget years of 2019 and 2020 confirm that APD was not as “aggressive and proactive” as Chief Medina proclaimed. APD statistics for the city budget years of 2019 and 2020 revealed the department was not doing its job of investigating and arresting people.
APD felony arrests went down from 2019 to 2020 by 39.51% going down from 10,945 to 6,621. Misdemeanor arrests went down by 15% going down from 19,440 to 16,520. DWI arrests went down from 1,788 in 2019 to 1,230 in 2020, down 26%. The total number of all arrests went down from 32,173 in 2019 to 24,371 in 2020 or by 25%.
In 2019 APD had 924 full time police. In 2020, APD had 1,004 sworn police or 80 more sworn police in 2020 than in 2019, yet arrests went down during the first year of the pandemic. APD’s homicide unit has an anemic clearance rate of 36%.
The 2023 proposed budget released on April 1, 2022, contains APD arrest statistics and performance measures. Following are the statistics for the reports years of 2020 and 2021:
NUMBER OF VIOLENT CRIMES REPORTED AND INVESTIGATED BY APD:
NUMBER OF PROPERTY CRIMES REPORTED AND INVESTIGATED BY APD
APD FELONY ARREST
2020: 10,945 felony arrests
2021: 6,621 felony arrests
APD MISDEMEANOR ARRESTS
2020: 19,440 misdemeanor arrests
2021: 16,520 misdemeanor arrests
APD DWI arrests
2020: 1,788 DWI arrests
2021: 1,230 DWI arrests
FBI DIRECTOR CHRISTOPHER WRAY
APD released the crime stats the same day FBI Director Christopher Wray came to New Mexico to meet with law enforcement leaders across the state to “publicly acknowledge what we’re up against.” Wray had this to say:
“I would love nothing more than to hear that everyone seated around me is getting bored by the lack of crime happening here. But, needless to say, that is definitely not the case right now. [Nationwide, violent crime has reached] extreme and even alarming levels. As part of that national trend, this region has certainly had its share of gun violence and heartbreak recently. … [Albuquerque’s homicide spike in 2021 is] truly horrifying jump.”
Wray did not announce any new enforcement tactics in New Mexico but noted a recent FBI endeavor putting billboards around New Mexico stating “Gun crime = federal crime. No Parole”. Wray said the billboards will “hopefully change some behavior” of criminals and prevent crime from happening “in the first place.” Wray touted the past accomplishments of the FBI’s Violent Crime Gang Task and said:
[The Violent Crime Gang Task force are] laser-focused on reversing the trend of violence. … I would love nothing more than to hear that everyone seated around me is getting bored by the lack of crime happening here. … But, needless to say, that is definitely not the case right now.”
The link to quoted news source material is here:
KELLER COOKING THE BOOKS
Comparing Albuquerque’s new crime stats to those before 2018 is difficult at best because of the change in the system of how it is reported by APD to the FBI and because of major past mistakes made by APD that under reported crime. Previously crime was broken into eight categories, 4 in property crime and four in violent crime, and only the highest crime in each incident was counted. Under the new National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) there are 52 subcategories spread throughout crimes against persons, crimes against property and crimes against society. Each crime committed during an incident is counted. Before the change, both violent crime and property crime had been rising steadily since 2015, with large jumps in auto theft, homicides, assaults and robberies.
In 2018 and 2019, the first two years Tim Keller served as Mayor, he would hold a press conference every quarter when APD released the city’ crime statistics. He did so to proclaim and to some extent take credit for crime going down in all categories. It turns out for almost two years the statistics Keller regurgitated were seriously inaccurate and way too optimistic.
On July 1, 2019, Keller held a press conference only 1 day after the second quarter of 2019 ended to report the mid-year crime statistics compared to last year midterm numbers. Mayor Keller reported that crime was down substantially, with double-digit drops in nearly every category, between the first six months of 2018 and the first six months of 2019.
The statistics released during the July 1, 2019 Keller press conference, the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) reported to the FBI that in the first 6 months of 2019, the property crimes of home burglaries were down and auto burglaries were down. Robberies, sexual assaults and murders were reported as down from the first 6 months of last year. Double-digit drops were reported during the last 6 months in violent offenses included robberies, down, aggravated assaults, and rapes.
On Sunday, December 1, the Albuquerque Journal ran a front-page story that all the crime rate reductions Keller reported in Keller’s July 1, 2019 press conference were in fact seriously flawed and not accurate. According to the report, both the 2019 mid-year statistics and the statistics released at the end of 2018 were revised dramatically to include hundreds, and in some cases thousands, more incidents than were initially reported. The final numbers for all of 2018 showed violent crime actually increased. You can read the full December 1 Journal story at this link:
At an October meeting of the City Council, APD provided the revised statistics to it but failed to report that the numbers had changed drastically no doubt believing no one would notice. Mayor Keller also did not hold any kind of a press conference to correct nor announce the corrected statistics. The Keller Administration blamed the false numbers on antiquated software programs, but only after the Keller Administration had essentially been caught by the Albuquerque Journal.
Following are the corrected statistics:
Auto burglaries decreased 16%, not 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
In February, 2019 APD reported very different numbers to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting program, which collects and publishes the data. The data reported shows violent crime had actually increased 3.7% between 2017 and 2018 driven by aggravated assaults.
According to the FBI report:
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%
According the to the FBI, the city’s total crime in Albuquerque may have only increased by a mere 0.85%, but that is simply not at all comforting given the city’s staggering violent crime and murder rates. APD’s lost a significant amount of credibility with its pathetic mishandling of the crime statistic a few years ago that deflated the actual numbers. People do not feel safe when murders are being reported on a daily basis.
It is unmistakable that APD statistics for the city budget years of 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021 confirm that APD was not as “aggressive and proactive”. Felony arrests, misdemeanor arrests and DWI arrests by APD are all down dramatically while at the same time homicide clearance rates by APD are at unacceptable levels. When arrest are down by APD so are the numbers reported to the FBI. APD’s reduced enforcement efforts reduces crime reported to FBI. It’s doubtful that crime is up by only 0.85%.
Following is a short synopsis of the SRS crime reporting system and the NIBRS system:
Prior to 2018, APD reported data using the Summary Reporting System (SRS), which included 8 crime categories and counted only the most serious offense during an incident. The eight categories were 4 in property crime and 4 in violent crime. The original 8 offenses were chosen because they are serious crimes, they occur with regularity in all areas of the country, and they are likely to be reported to police. In the traditional Summary Reporting System (SRS), the eight crimes, or Part I offenses are:
1. Murder and Nonnegligent Manslaughter
2. Forcible Rape
4. Aggravated Assault
7. Motor Vehicle Theft
A link providing a complete definition of each category under the SRS system is here:
In 2018, the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) began reporting its annual crime statistics using the Federal Bureau Of Investigation’s National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS). NIBRS is the most current national framework for reporting crime and replaces the FBI’s Uniform Crimes Reports (UCR). This change is important because, compared to UCR, NIBRS provides more comprehensive and detailed information about crimes against person, crimes against property and crimes against society occurring in law enforcement jurisdictions across the county. Under the National Incident-Based Reporting System there are 52 subcategories spread throughout crimes against persons, crimes against property and crimes against society. Each crime committed during an incident is counted.
Starting in January 2021, the FBI began requiring law enforcement agencies to use the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS). In NIBRS, there are 3 major reporting broad categories:
CRIMES AGAINST PERSONS
Crimes Against Persons include murder, rape, and assault, and are those in which the victims are always individuals.
CRIMES AGAINST PROPERTY
Crimes Against Property include robbery, bribery, and burglary, or to obtain money, property, or some other benefit.
CRIMES AGAINST SOCIETY
Crimes Against Society include gambling, prostitution, and drug violations, and represent society’s prohibition against engaging in certain types of activity and are typically victimless crimes.
The 3 major categories are then broken down into 52 sub-categories. NIBRS counts virtually all crimes committed during an incident and for that reason alone NIMRS is far more sophisticated than the “most serious incident-based” reporting SRS reporting system.
“In the National Incident-Based Reporting System” (NIBRS), each offense reported is either a Group A or Group B offense type. There are 23 Group A offense categories, comprised of 52 Group A offenses and 10 Group B offense categories. Law enforcement agencies report Group A offenses as part of a NIBRS incident report, but they report only arrest data for Group B offenses.”
“In NIBRS, law enforcement agencies collect detailed data regarding individual crime incidents and arrests and submit them in separate reports using prescribed data elements and data values to describe each incident and arrest. Therefore, NIBRS involves incident-based reporting. … There are 52 data elements used in NIBRS to describe the victims, offenders, arrestees, and circumstances of crimes.”
A link to a complete guide to the NIBRS crime reporting system is here: