Hundreds of home break-ins reported in Albuquerque per month

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) - KRQE News 13 has learned just how frequently homes are broken into in Albuquerque, and the numbers are alarming.

According to reports into the Albuquerque Police Department, homes are broken into about a dozen times a day in the city.

However, police say there are things people can do to keep the thieves away.

"These guys are watching you as you leave, and they know that you're leaving your residence to go to work, and they're casing places," explained officer Simon Drobik, of the Albuquerque Police Department.

Thieves are casing neighborhoods across Albuquerque, watching and waiting for an opportunity to break into someone's home and grab whatever they can.

"It's one of our calls we commonly take," Drobik explained. "It doesn't matter if it's a day shift call, swing shift, or graveyard, burglary calls are very consistent in the city."

And the numbers reflect that. KRQE News 13 has learned that since 2010, the amount of home burglaries reported to Albuquerque police range anywhere from 300 to 500 per month.

That amounts to more than 4,000 home break-ins per year.

The worst month on record in recent years for home burglaries in Albuquerque was in August of 2013. There were 509 that month, compared to 348 last August.

While hundreds of people are still being victimized across the city every month, stats do show the numbers are gradually going down.

"It's easy for me to come up here and say 'hey, numbers are going down.' And if you've been a victim, it's a hard pill to swallow; the numbers are going down," said Drobik. "We've seen a five percent decrease in burglaries over the year."

Still, police and victims in Albuquerque know it's still a huge problem.

But there are steps people can take to help themselves.

The public is seeing more and more home surveillance video of thieves caught in the act. Videos plastered on social media and shown on the news, allow the public to help solve the crimes. Detectives rely on that video too.

"That's one of the first things {we ask} when we arrive on scene," said Drobik. "It's really really critical."

In some cases, detectives recognize the faces of frequent offenders right away. Of course catching them is only half the battle.

"I think one of the key issues moving forward is keeping these guys locked up," Drobik explained.

While low bonds and light sentences are another story, people are often making it easy for thieves.

KRQE News 13 drove through neighborhoods around Albuquerque and spotted a handful of wide open garage doors in no time.

With the warm weather, KRQE News 13 also saw windows and back doors left open; all open invitations for uninvited guests.

"If you're gonna do that, you know just be aware your property is vulnerable," said Drobik.

Sometimes the thieves don't care if people are home when they break in. When that happens, police warn it's not worth a confrontation with someone who could be armed and desperate.

"You go home, you see somebody in your house, it's a human reaction to want to stop that person. I get it, I totally do," Drobik explained.

"The best thing to do is back out, call 911 immediately. We can always replace property, we can't replace you."

Police said while loud alarm systems can also help, the best line of defense is still an alert neighbor who doesn't hesitate to call in suspicious activity.

Those calls often lead to arrests, Drobik said.

Officers also encourage people to take photos and keep track of serial numbers for expensive property inside their homes. That way if the property is ever stolen, there's a higher chance a victim will get that property back.

The city of Albuquerque has a resource where the public can register their property.

If a thief is caught with a car full of stolen items, it's also easier for police to try and track the victim with serial numbers, and charge the criminal with receiving stolen property.


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