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City Says Auto Theft Is Slowing Down In ABQ

Pxhere via CC

Albuquerque is the worst city in the U.S. when it comes to vehicle thefts and break-ins. But auto thefts and burglaries are each down now by almost one-third, according to a report released Sunday.

Last summer, news broke that based on 2017 numbers, Albuquerque was again at the top of the list for auto theft per capita. Police here decided to change how they were dealing with the problem. Auto theft is down 27 percent, and break-ins are down 28 percent, according to the city’s numbers.

Albuquerque Police Department Deputy Chief Harold Medina told KUNM about the plan back in October. He said law enforcement departments teamed up to figure out where most vehicles are stolen and where they’re recovered. "What we’ve done is we’ve put a big focus on auto theft itself," he said. "We’ve had where we go out. We take individuals involved in auto theft into custody. We saturate areas. We look for stolen vehicles."

Medina said there were other positive side effects, too.

"A lot of individuals we arrested for auto theft, we were noticing had warrants for other types of crime," he said. "So by attacking auto theft, we were having an impact on crime across the board."

Property crime overall in Albuquerque slowed in 2018 according to the city’s progress report. Still, even with the decreases, it’s likely that Albuquerque will remain high in the next round of nationwide rankings for auto theft.

Marisa Demarco began a career in radio at KUNM News in late 2013 and covered public health for much of her time at the station. During the pandemic, she is also the executive producer for Your NM Government and No More Normal, shows focused on the varied impacts of COVID-19 and community response, as well as racial and social justice. She joined Source New Mexico as editor-in-chief in 2021.
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