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ABQ sees another drop in crime for start of 2019

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller and Albuquerque Police Chief Mike Geier talk about the crime statistics for the first quarter of 2019 at the APD Old Town Community Substation on Sunday. (Greg Sorber/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2019 Albuquerque Journal

Crime has continued to drop in the first three months of the year, with property crimes dropping the most from once historic highs, according to Albuquerque police and city officials.

Speaking at a news conference on Sunday afternoon, Mayor Tim Keller touted the sharp reduction in robbery, auto theft, and auto burglary as evidence of progress, and said he hopes to continue to see this trend continue.

“Up until 2018, more or less, we were actually going in the wrong direction in respect to almost every crime statistic,” Keller said. “Now we are at least continuing to go in the right direction in almost every key statistic.”

Keller said the latest crime report, which runs from January to March of 2019, is “historic” because it represents a continued decrease in crime for the first time in 10 years.

Property crimes saw the largest drop – this year there has been a decrease of auto burglary by 28 percent, auto theft by 29 percent, and residential burglary by 32 percent compared to last year’s numbers during the same time period. These numbers represent a dramatic decrease from the 2017 numbers.

Albuquerque Police Chief Mike Geier says addressing violent crime is a challenge due to societal issues such as substance abuse and mental health. (Greg Sorber/Albuquerque Journal)

Violent crimes, for the most part, experienced a decline, too. Robbery decreased by 22 percent, homicide by 24 percent, and aggravated assault decreased by 4 percent.

While decreases in crime were seen across the board, the city saw an increase in nonfatal shootings. So far there have been 131 nonfatal shootings this year, compared to last year’s number at this time of 114.

“We still have lots of challenges to overcome, and we have lots of work to do when it comes to addressing violent crime,” Keller said.

Keller said that a new approach will be rolled out this week that works on addressing violent crime, especially crime involving guns.

Albuquerque Police Chief Michael Geier said violent crime is a bigger challenge due to societal issues like substance abuse, mental health, and domestic violence.

“This is really a public health issue on one hand, it’s a society issue on another,” Geier said.

Geier and Deputy Chief Harold Medina said upcoming changes to address violent crime will include: the creation of a new unit, tracking violent crime using methods that mirror the tracking of auto thefts, weekly reports summarizing shootings, refining policies, and learning from best practices used by other agencies outside of Albuquerque.

These changes will be detailed at a news conference later in the week.

“It’s going to be a marathon, not a sprint,” Geier said on reducing violent crime.

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