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The 5 most violent areas to live in Albuquerque

Copyright © 2017 Albuquerque Journal

In the Alta Monte neighborhood between Comanche and Candelaria in Northeast Albuquerque, an average of one in 25 of that area’s residents was assaulted or robbed from 2014 through 2016, according to a recent analysis of Albuquerque crime statistics.

At one corner on Central Avenue NE, 98 violent crime incidents were reported to police in those same years.

And even though only 37,600 people live in a section of Southeast Albuquerque – or less than 7 percent of city residents – more than 27 percent of the city’s murders happened there in the three-year period.

Those grim statistics were found through research by the Albuquerque Innovation Team, or ABQ i-team, which reported that a disproportionate amount of the city’s crime, especially violent crime, happens in five clusters around the city where only about 10 percent of its population lives.

The research, the first phase of a three-phase crime analysis, used multiple databases to study where most crime occurs in the city and where offenders committing the crimes live.

Albuquerque Innovation Team’s Scott Darnell

The research is now being used to help make decisions about how to allocate the city’s police force and other resources, said Scott Darnell, the director of ABQ i-team, which is doing the analysis along with the police department’s Real Time Crime Center.

“It is not just about information for information’s sake,” Mayor Richard Berry said in an interview with Journal reporters and editors. “This is not just about police work. This is about social services. This is about resource allocation.”

Darnell said the next phase, scheduled to be released in coming weeks, analyzes who is being arrested in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County. The final phase will use focus groups, surveys and interviews to look beyond the data.

The 145-page report describes the data as “groundbreaking research” that will be shared with partners such as local law enforcement, neighborhood groups, social service agencies, as well as parts of the criminal justice system. The hope is that the data will be used for increased collaborative efforts and new tools to combat crime.

ABQ i-team was created in 2015 with a three-year grant the city received from Bloomberg Philanthropies. The group originally focused on opportunities for local youths before switching to crime analysis, Berry said.

The biggest and most violent of the five clusters identified in the study is referred to simply as Southeast/Primary. The study marked the area as roughly from Carlisle to Eubank and from Lomas to Gibson.

That part of town accounted for 27 percent of the murders, 20 percent of carjackings and 37 percent of nonfatal shootings in the past three years, according to the report.

“It sticks out like a sore thumb, all the murders that are happening in (the) area,” Darnell said.

Other high-crime clusters were roughly: Downtown, from Lomas as far south as Pacific and from Eighth Street to Broadway; Far Southeast, from I-40 south to Horseshoe and from Juan Tabo to Tramway; San Mateo, a triangular area bordered by San Mateo and I-25 and stretching south of Comanche, including the Alta Monte neighborhood; and Southwest, which includes Avalon south to Bridge and Old Coors to new Coors, according to the report.

From 2014 to 2016, 43.6 percent of murders, 36.2 percent of robberies of individuals and nearly half of all shootings with injuries happened in those five clusters in Albuquerque.

Combined, these areas have a population of about 57,000 people and cover a little more than nine square miles. By comparison, Albuquerque’s total population is about 560,000 and the city covers about 189 square miles.

Property crimes are spread out across the city, but they still occur more in the five clusters compared to other parts of the city, Darnell said.

And people arrested for property crimes and violent crimes that occur throughout the city give addresses that are heavily concentrated in these cluster areas.

The report dug deep into each area, coming up with such facts as:

• More violent and property crime occurs at multi-family housing. For example, 79 percent of the home invasions in the Southeast/Primary area occurred in multi-family housing.

• Crime along Central Avenue was a central theme throughout most of the crime clusters. In the Downtown area, 75 percent of nonfatal shootings with injuries occurred on Central Avenue between First and Sixth streets.

• In the Alta Monte area, nearly one in five residents have reported that their car was stolen or burglarized, or that their home was burglarized.

Albuquerque police officers stand near a crime scene in Southeast Albuquerque earlier this year. A study by the Albuquerque Innovation Team found that Southeast Albuquerque is the most violent place in the city. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

Berry said he will use the data during the twilight of his administration to target high-crime areas for things such as lighting improvements, deciding where to focus police and social service resources and where to launch public awareness campaigns about crime and other efforts.

“We’re trying to put this information together … so we can hand this information off,” Berry said. “So (the next administration) has much better information to launch from as they start making decisions on how they want to combat crime in the community.”

Crime has been on the upswing in the city since about 2010. From 2013 to 2016, murders increased 65 percent, from 37 to 61. In that same period, auto thefts were up 157 percent and robberies were up 87 percent, according to the study.

“We are not in any way shape or form, saying that (the five clusters are) the only place where crime occurs in the city,” Darnell said. “We are simply identifying areas where the concentration is very heavy.”

Albuquerque Police Chief Gorden Eden said the police have already used some of the data in the i-team’s study to create assignments for police officers.

Eden said the department is using a mixture of officers who work 8-, 10- and 12-hour shifts to ensure there are the maximum number of officers on patrol during times with high numbers of calls for service.

“How can we use this data now to concentrate on these areas, both from an intervention standpoint and from a badge and gun standpoint,” Berry said. “It’s really helping allocate resources … to do more good things with less resources.”

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