It was in 2018 that APD along with other law enforcement departments across the country, switched to 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.
The three major categories of crime statistics under NIBRS are:
- CRIMES AGAINST PERSONS. This category includes murder, rape, and assault, and are those in which the victims are always individuals.
- CRIMES AGAINST PROPERTY. This category includes robbery, bribery, and burglary, or to obtain money, property, or some other benefit.
- CRIMES AGAINST SOCIETY. This category includes gambling, prostitution, and drug violations, and represent society’s prohibition against engaging in certain types of activity and are typically victimless crimes.
APD RELEASES 2022 CRIME STATISTICS
On Thursday, March 16, 2023 the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) released the 2022 crime statistics along with crime statistics for 2021 for a comparison. APD Chief Harold Medina reported Albuquerque crime statistics as follows:
CRIMES AGAINST PERSONS
2022: 12,777 (4% DECREASE)
CRIMES AGAINST PROPERTY
2022: 43,824 (2% DECREASE)
CRIMES AGAINST SOCIETY
2022: 5,133 (24% INCREASE)
Chief Medina also presented a vertical bar graph that revealed that over the last 6 years, Albuquerque has had a dramatic 71% spike in homicides. The number of homicides for the past 6 years are as follows:
APD RELEASES STATISTICS IN FIVE CATEGORIES TO EMBELISH DECREASES
Medina went further to breakdown Albuquerque’s violent crime into 5 historical categories showing the rates decreases and increases in each category for the past 6 years showing decreases in 3 categories and increases in 2 categories. Following are those statics:
ALL VIOLENT CRIMES
Over the 6 years, there was a 3% DECREASE in violent crime.
Over the past 6 years there has been a 31% DECREASE In rapes.
Over the past 6 years there has been a 46% DECREASE in robbery.
Over the past 6 years there has been a 28% INCREASE in Aggravated Assaults.
Over the 6 years, there was a 71% INCREASE in murders.
On March 19, it was reported that 4 homicides in a span of 24 hours occurred over one weekend. On March 22, it was reported that one person was found dead and another was hurt after a shooting in Albuquerque. Officers were called to the area of Central Avenue near 94th Street for reports of a shooting. Officers arrived and found two people with gunshot wounds near an RV park. The city’s homicide numbers for 2023 are following last year’s record-breaking number. These murders bring the total number of homicides to 21 in the city since January 1, 2023
According to Chief Medina there was 3% drop in the overall total of crime and stated it was a fueled by the 4% decrease in CRIMES AGAINST PERSONS and the 2% drop in CRIMES AGAINST PROPERTY. The slight 3% decrease in overall crime was over shadowed by the 24% spike in CRIMES AGAINST SOCIETY which are largely made up of drug and gun offenses and the 71% increase in murders over the last 6 years.
Chief Harold Medina said APD is fighting crime on two fronts:
1. Battling against the actual crime numbers and
2. Battling “the perception of crime”.
Medina embellished APD’s success in bringing down Crimes Against Persons by 4% and success in bringing down Crimes Against Property by 2%. Medina said this:
“We’ll always have to work to reduce that perception of crime and make sure that the community knows exactly where they’re at. … But we’re seeing a lot of positive movement, which is encouraging to us. And we’re hoping that it’ll be encouraging to the citizens of the city of Albuquerque.”
DEVIL IN THE DETAILS
The FBI’s National Incident-Based Reporting System implemented in 2018 cannot be used to compare previous crime statistics which before used the SRS reporting system where crime was broken down into 8 separate categories of crime. Those categories were:
1. Murder and Nonnegligent Manslaughter
2. Forcible Rape
4. Aggravated Assault
7. Motor Vehicle Theft and
The postscript to this blog article provides an explanation of the SRS System and NIBRS. As a result, APD used a more basic form of reporting to show violent crime had dropped by 4% and property crime had dropped by 40% since 2017.
In 2017 auto theft and other property crimes were at record highs and dropped significantly in the years following. But in recent years those decreasing metrics have steadied and some, like auto theft, had risen again in 2022.
In 2022, according to NIBRS data provided by APD, the largest decreases were observed in fraud at 32%, sex offenses at 23% and robbery at 13%. In 2021, the largest spike increases in crime were observed in weapons violations at 57%, drug offenses at 10%, auto theft at 10%, non-negligent murder at 9% and vandalism at 8%.
APD officials said the massive 57% spike in weapons violations can be attributed to the hundreds of ShotSpotter alerts where an officer has collected bullet casings where each incident counts the casings collected as a weapons offense. In other words, if 10 casings are found and one incident cite, 10 separate weapons offenses are reported. In 2022, aggravated assault and burglary saw a small decreases of 3% and larceny had a small decrease 2% while simple assault saw a 1% increase.
MEDINA’S RECIEPE FOR SUCCESS
Chief Medina said he believes the “recipe for success” to bring down crime is arresting more people committing serious crimes, clearing more homicide cases, and making sure violent offenders are detained until trial. Medina said the city still has a “homicide problem” and pointed out that the latter months of 2022 and March 2023 saw few homicides after a breakneck pace last spring, summer and fall. Medina said this:
“We’re very cautious of what we want to say, because the moment we talk about it, and there’s three homicides, everybody goes crazy and says, ‘Oh my god, they’ve done nothing. It’s worse than ever before.’ We see the trending going in the direction we want.”
During the March 16, 2023 press conference releasing the City’s crime statistics, APD Spokesman Gilbert Gallegos disclosed for the first time a problem in previous years accounting. Gallegos said the year end 2021 statistics initially provided by APD, which showed the first rise in overall crime since 2018, was incorrect and included duplicates. The data compiled showed a marginal 0.85% increase in overall crime driven by a 1% and 3% rise in property and violent crime, respectively.
The data released on March 16 showed greater declines for 2021. Between 2020 and 2021, there was a 0.4% decrease in overall crime, with 0.3% and 0.7% drops in property and violent crime and a 1% rise in Crimes Against Society. According to Gallegos, APD’s Records Unit recalculated the data due to the department counting one incident as multiple incidents if there were multiple victims. He said the FBI counts one incident despite the number of victims and APD removed duplicates to adhere to the federal system. Gallegos explained the problem this way:
“When you remove that duplicative data, the numbers are lower and consistent with the FBI’s process. ”
Gallegos said, adding that the Records Unit is in the process of recalculating data going back to 2018.
The links to quoted news source material are here:
NOT THE FIRST TIME
It’s not the first time APD has released crime data that was misleading. Comparing Albuquerque’s 2022 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. Before 2018, the SRS system of reporting crime was used and in 2018 the NIBRS System was implemented. The postscript to this blog article explains both systems.
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, 2019 the Albuquerque Journal ran a front-page story that all the crime rate reductions Keller reported at his July 1, 2019 press conference were in fact seriously flawed and not at all 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 for 2018:
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%
KELLER’S FAILED VIOLENT CRIME PROGRAMS
In 2019, in response to the continuing increase in violent crime rates, Mayor Keller scrambled to implement 4 major crime fighting programs to reduce violent crime:
- The Shield Unit
In February 2018 the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) created the “Shield Unit”. The Shield Unit assists APD Police Officers to prepare cases for trial and prosecution by the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s office. The unit originally consisted of 3 para legals. It was announced that it is was expanded to 12 under the 2019-2020 city budget that took effect July 1, 2019.
- Declaring Violent Crime “Public Health” issue
On April 8, 2019, Mayor Keller and APD announced efforts that will deal with “violent crime” in the context of it being a “public health issue” and dealing with crimes involving guns in an effort to bring down violent crime in Albuquerque. Mayor Keller and APD argue that gun violence is a “public health issue” because gun violence incidents have lasting adverse effects on children and others in the community that leads to further problems.
- The “Violence Intervention Plan” (VIP program)
On November 22, Mayor Tim Keller announced what he called a “new initiative” to target violent offenders called “Violence Intervention Plan” (VIP). The VIP initiative was in response to the city’s recent murders resulting in the city tying the all-time record of homicides at 72 in one year. Mayor Keller proclaimed the VIP is a “partnership system” that includes law enforcement, prosecutors and social service and community provides to reduce violent crime. According to Keller vulnerable communities and law enforcement will be working together and building trust has proven results for public safety.
Mayor Keller stated:
“… This is about trying to get these people not to shoot each other. …This is about understanding who they are and why they are engaged in violent crime. … And so, this actually in some ways, in that respect, this is the opposite of data. This is action. This is actually doing something with people. …”
- The Metro 15 Operation program.
On Tuesday, November 26, Mayor Tim Keller held a press conference to announce a 4th program within 9 months to deal with the city’s violent crime and murder rates. At the time of the press conference, the city’s homicide count was at 72, matching the city’s record in 2017.
Before 2017, the last time the City had the highest number of homicides in one year was in 1996 with 70 murders that year. Keller dubbed the new program “Metro 15 Operation” and is part of the Violence Intervention Program (VIP) program. According to Keller and then APD Chief Michael Geier the new program would target the top 15 most violent offenders in Albuquerque. It’s the city’s version of the FBI’s 10 most wanted list.
Links to news coverage are here:
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
Quoting Mark Twain “Figures Don’t Lie, But Liars Figure.” Chief Medina reverting back to the 5 traditional categories of violent crime to show decreases in 3 categories and increases in 2 was a pathetic attempt of politcal spin. The public are not as stupid as Chief Harold Medina and his public information flak Gilbert Gallegos think they are. The general public know “Figures Don’t Lie, But Liars Figure.”
Chief Medina said he believes the “recipe for success” to bring down crime is arresting more people committing serious crimes, clearing more homicide cases, and making sure violent offenders are detained until trial. Medina’s “recipe for success” is a reflection of an APD Chief with over 30 years experience who has learned very little. With his recipe he shows his ignorance that law enforcement is only the very first ingredient. It is the actual conviction with evidence and the sentencing of violent criminals to prison that will bring down crime, not pretrial detention.
120 murders alone in 2022, a 71% increase in murders over 6 years and a 28% increase in Aggravated Assaults in 6 years are not lies. The statistics are proof that the City of Albuquerque has become a very violent city. What is lying is when Medina embellishes that a 3% drop in overall total of crime and a 4% decrease in Crimes Against Persons and the 2% decrease in Crimes Against Property is somehow making “progress”. These single digit statistics are NOT “a lot of positive movement, which is encouraging to us … that it’ll be encouraging to the citizens of the city of Albuquerque.”
Medina proclaiming that the City is fighting “the perception of crime” is also lie. It is no a perception. It is a blunt, cold, tragic reality that in 2022 the city broke the all time record of homicides with 120 murders and the city is one of the most violent cities in the country. Its only getting worse despite all the programs implemented by the Keller Administration in an attempt to bring down violent crime. The 5 programs instituted by the Keller Administration to reduce violent crime in 2019 have had no impact on it and can only be considered failures.
In 2019, APD management and in particular Medina, should have learned to knock it off with trying to put a positive spin on statistics and merely report them. What he has done this year is to go into politcal spin cycle again by coming up with 5 additional statistical categories to try and argue that overall violent crime in the city has gone down .
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: