ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - The Albuquerque's mayor's race is heating up and so is the rhetoric from at least one of the candidates.
During closing statements at a candidate's forum hosted by commercial real estate group, all three men looking for Albuquerque's vote in October made conflicting claims about the city's crime.
"The FBI crime rate in the last three years is the lowest FBI crime rate that the city has seen in the last 20 years," Mayor R.J. Berry said.
"Crime is up and Mayor, the FBI says it's up," said Democratic challenger Pete Dinelli.
But Republican and retired Sgt. Paul Heh took things a step further.
"I was a cop for 25 years and the mayor wants to say that the crime rate is going down? Ask a cop that works the streets," Heh said. "I have to call bulls**t, Mayor, I don't know any other way to say it."
All three men referenced FBI crime statistics in making their points. So who's right?
Dinelli is correct when he says crime is up, assuming he's referring to the total number of violent and property crimes committed.
FBI crime stats show there were 4,081 violent crimes and 29,140 property crimes in 2009, the year before Berry took office. In 2012, there were 4,151 violent crimes and 29,718 property crimes, a slight increase in both categories.
However, Berry's claim about a decline in city crime rates - the amount of crime per person - is also correct.
The FBI statistics also say Albuquerque's population increased by about 4.3 percent during that same time frame, growing faster than crime did. Because of that, Albuquerque's violent crime and property crime rates are each down 2 percent from 2009 to 2012.
That doesn't mean certain crime hasn't been on the rise.
The total number of property crimes and the property crime rate both increased from 2011 to 2012 and data provided by APD shows property crime is on pace to increase again in 2013. The opposite holds true with violent crimes, which have declined over that same period and are on pace to decline again in 2013.
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