Amid surge in homicides, police chief says Albuquerque’s auto thefts going down

Crime

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – While Albuquerque is on pace to shatter its record for murders, Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina is celebrating the decline in car thefts in the city. Chief Medina said auto thefts in 2020 were the lowest they’ve seen in five years.

“In talking to a lot of my colleagues across the nation during the pandemic a lot of cities saw a double-digit increase in auto theft, we saw a double-digit decrease or close to. So we want to continue that trend,” said Chief Medina.    

Chief Medina said the Albuquerque car theft rate has been trickling down for five years. For years, the city has been on the list of the ten worst cities in the country for car theft. Chief Medina believes the bait car program has helped. He also thinks focusing on auto theft has cut down on other related crimes. On Sunday when the chief tweeted out the good news, critics were quick to point out the city’s murder rate is at an all-time high.

Back in 2019, the city saw 82 murders, but this year we’ve already had 72. “The public has to understand the Albuquerque Police Department arrests people every day, day in, day out,” said Chief Medina. “Until the other parts of the system are fixed and we can actually hold people in custody, hold people accountable crime will not go down to levels of what the public wants to see.”  

Medina believes there needs to be more resources and programs to address substance abuse and mental health. The Albuquerque Police Department said the national rankings for auto thefts should be released at some point this week.

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