ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Newly released numbers show how crime in Albuquerque has changed since last year. Monthly statistics from the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) show a decrease in homicides and robberies, but an increase in some other crimes.
The data compares monthly crime counts from January through May of 2023 to those same months in 2022. APD says the data may be revised in the future, but the counts give a picture of what’s been happening across the city.
Homicides are down 22% over the first five months of 2023 compared to the same time last year. Unfortunately, 2022 was a record-setting year for homicides in Albuquerque. This year, the numbers have been pacing below that record year.
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Monthly comparisons from APD show how 2023 is stacking up to last year in terms of crime. Courtesy APD.
Robbery is also down in 2023, according to the APD data. Last year, January and February alone saw nearly 400 robberies, the data shows. In 2023, those two months saw fewer than 150 robberies.
Burglary, breaking and entering, and motor vehicle theft have also seen decreases this year, the data shows. Vehicle theft is down 14%, APD says. Burglary – breaking and entering – are down 16%.
Not everything is trending down, however. Vandalism, damage, and larceny offenses are essentially similar to last year. Stolen property offenses are up 11%, according to APD. Weapon violations are up 30%, the data shows.
Narcotics and drug offenses, by far, have seen the biggest increase, the data shows. From January to May of this year, drug and narcotics offenses are up 154% compared to the same time last year, APD’s data shows.
APD Chief Harold Medina said the increase in drug offense numbers doesn’t necessarily mean drug use is exploding on the streets. Rather, the increase is likely a result of more officers proactively tackling drug crimes and new ways to comply with the Department of Justice settlement.
“A simple force handcuffing, you put hands together, in the past that used to result in us losing the officer, sergeant, and the officer who witnessed it for five hours. I mean that’s half a shift,” Medina said. “By shortening it up and bringing in a team that does it now with some of our civilians, the sworn officer isn’t tied up.”
The department also shuffled some officers from the former ‘vice’ squad to focus more on narcotics, Medina said. “To see narcotics arrests and enforcement activities up so much is also a positive sign about the hard work that our officers are doing out in the community,” Medina adds.
Medina also notes that the exact crime numbers should be taken with a grain of salt because they may be re-classified with further investigation. For example, suspicious deaths are often initially labeled as a “homicide” but turn out to be an accidental death or some other cause of death, Medina explained. And some crime categories are often under-reported, Medina said.