2021 is Albuquerque’s deadliest year on record

Data Reporting

2021 homicide count sets a new record

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) –  There were more than 100 homicides in Albuquerque this year. And the triple-digit count sets a never-before-seen record.

In the first three quarters of 2021, Albuquerque had 111 violent crimes per 10,000 people, according to data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). That puts Albuquerque in the top 10 most violent cities with populations of over 100,000 people. Homicides, of course, contribute to the violent reputation.

Over the last 35 years, Albuquerque’s yearly homicide count has averaged about 45 homicides per year. But in the last few years, that average rose, reaching a new high this year, according to data from the FBI. Albuquerque homicides now account for more than half of the entire state’s yearly homicide count.


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This year, Albuquerque police have investigated more homicides than any time in the last 35 years. Data from FBI UCR.


KRQE News 13 previously reported that the city’s homicide rate was outpacing previous years and that the crimes tend to happen in certain parts of the city. Homicides have tended to cluster around certain parts of town, such as the International District. But this year also brought homicides at hotels near Los Altos neighborhood near Lomas and Wyoming, a few on the West Side, and a couple of homicides near the Heights.

Homicides are generally “concentrated in communities that have chronically high levels of firearm violence, disparities, racial and ethnic disparities, segregation, underemployment, [and] poverty,” says Christopher Lyons, a professor of sociology at the University of New Mexico. “It’s similar populations, it’s similar locations in Albuquerque every year,” he says.


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While homicides cluster along Central Avenue, this year brought violent crime to many different neighborhoods. Data from CABQ/APD.


“It’s been a tough year,” Albuquerque Police Department Chief Harold Medina told reporters at a November 8 news conference. “This is a nationwide trend. We are falling in line with a lot of the other major, big cities,” he said.

To some extent, data supports Medina’s claim. Albuquerque, however, has seen a bigger rise in homicides than many similarly-sized cities, according to data from the Major Cities Chiefs Association, a group that represents police executives in large cities across the US.

Across the country, many police departments are reporting an increase in homicides. The most recent survey data from 66 police departments across the US show that the majority of those departments have reported an increase in the number of homicides from January to October 2021 compared to the same time frame in 2020. The average police department saw a 7% rise in homicides, the data shows. Albuquerque’s homicide count rose by about 30% in that time.


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Many police departments saw an increase in homicides this year. But Albuquerque’s increase is above average according to data from the Major Cities Chiefs Association.


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