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APD: Balloon Fiesta property crimes deflate

Property crimes associated with Balloon Fiesta – those that occurred within the park and at hotels where balloonists stayed – decreased 39% compared with last year, according to a news release by Albuquerque Police Department spokesman Gilbert Gallegos.

The Albuquerque Police Department reports that property crimes decreased by 39% in 2019 at the hotels were balloonists stayed and within Balloon Fiesta Park, compared with 2018. (Greg Sorber/Albuquerque Journal)

The Albuquerque Police Department reports that property crimes decreased by 39% in 2019 at the hotels were balloonists stayed and within Balloon Fiesta Park, compared with 2018. (Greg Sorber/Albuquerque Journal)

Gallegos did not respond when asked for the number of crimes each year.

According to the release sent out Tuesday, APD pulled hundreds of officers from 24 units into the operation, trained security personnel from the Department of Municipal Development to direct traffic, and asked recruits from the academy to put their new skills to use.

“In addition to providing valuable learning opportunities for recruits, these changes to traffic control helped us save nearly $40,000 in overtime costs for police officers,” Deputy Chief Michael Smathers said.

Throughout the fiesta, APD assisted with six cases of missing or separated adults, 52 cases of missing or separated children, 16 miscellaneous calls, two traffic reports and three downed balloons, which were handled by New Mexico State Police.

Gallegos said APD’s auto theft and street crimes units also handled:

• 42 felony arrests and arrests on warrants;

• 1 misdemeanor arrest;

• 16 recovered stolen vehicles;

• 3 bait car arrests;

• 9 guns recovered and seized, including one concealed pellet gun;

• 7 narcotics arrests for methamphetamine and heroin; and

• “Numerous” positive community contacts.

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