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ABQ tops nation in auto theft rate


A new study by used 2017 state population, automobile registration, FBI and National Insurance Crime Bureau data to figure out the top places for car theft.

Drumroll, please.

In ascending order from No. 1, the losers are Alaska, New Mexico, Washington, D.C., Nevada, Colorado, Oregon, California, Oklahoma, Utah and Washington. The study is online at

In the Land of Enchantment, the study says, around 18 vehicles are stolen for every 1,000 registered. No. 1 Alaska has 22 stolen for every 1,000 registered. Amanda Cohen says her team’s study found in New Mexico that theft adds up to an estimated $181.3 million lost to car theft.

BUT ABQ IS NO. 1: Break it down by city, and Cohen says “Albuquerque has the highest rate of stolen cars in America: 1,096.8 in 2017. It was also the highest-ranking city for car theft in 2016.” (Anchorage was No. 2 with 816.7 vehicles per 100,000 residents stolen in 2017, a big jump from sixth place in 2016.)

Nationally, Cohen says, “the study found the most vulnerable cars are sedans, 62%, followed by pickups, 29%, and vans, 8%.”

FANS OF CIVICS AND CHEVY PICKUPS: The study also shows the five most stolen models nationally in 2017 were, in order, the Honda Civic, Honda Accord, full-size Ford pickup, full-size Chevy pickup and Toyota Camry.

But No. 6, the Nissan Altima, is rising, and fast. Cohen points out that model “had a 9.3% increase in thefts in just one year.”

A look at the study’s national map shows Chevy and Ford pickups, Honda Civics and Accords, Dodge Caravans and Chevy Impalas were all No. 1 in at least one state.

No. 1 stolen vehicle in New Mexico? The full-size Chevy pickup.

ROUNDABOUT WORK OPENS TODAY: Amy Black emails that the May 5 Sunday Journal included an announcement for a construction open house May 9 about the Rio Grande roundabout. “Since it is already under construction, my question is why? Why bother about something that is a done, if stupid, idea. It reminds me of the “charettes” done under the Berry administration for the ART project – hors d’oeurves and a window dressing done in the name of public input that only attracted city employees and paid contractors.”

While work including utility line relocation has been ongoing, Patti Watson, who is handling information on the project for the city, says the event was “to give people information about actual construction of the roundabout, scheduled to start (this) week.”

Information on the project is at the roundabout website,, and includes a feature to sign up for traffic updates.

IN THE DARK AT 72ND AND LADERA: That’s Bob, who emails “the city has contracted out much of the repair and replacement of its street lights to Citelum, 800-370-0395. I have had a case number, HM0095, with them for the past five months to replace the street light at 72nd Street and Ladera Drive that was damaged in a vehicle accident. After waiting a couple of months, I was told they were waiting for parts. After 5 months, that just isn’t ringing true.

“If you travel that area, you will notice the descansos in the Ladera median. There have been three fatalities at this intersection since the street light was destroyed. The intersection is exceptionally dangerous during daylight because 72nd tees into Ladera on a curve. At night, it is a gamble to cross Ladera from 72nd due to obstructions.”

So can we shed a little light on the subject?

Johnny Chandler, who handles info for the city’s Department of Municipal Development, says “the street light in question was knocked down on Jan. 1, with approval to repair given on Jan. 25. The parts to replace this street light have been ordered, and we are expecting the delivery of those parts soon.

“Once the parts are delivered, the street light will be replaced and operating. The Albuquerque Police Department confirms that there have been zero fatal crashes at this location on Ladera in the last year.”

Editorial page editor D’Val Westphal tackles commuter issues for the Metro area on Mondays. Reach her at 823-3858;; or 7777 Jefferson NE, Albuquerque, N.M., 87109.

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