APD data shows increase in crime as officer shortage worsened
February 15, 2017 10:05 PM
In a series of recent reports, KOB has asked the Albuquerque Police Department to explain an increase in violent crime over the years. Each time, the department blames a climbing crime rate on repeat offenders being lightly sentenced and released back onto the streets.
On Wednesday, KOB analyzed numbers pulled straight from the department's own annual reports.
Amidst recent court rulings governing speedy trial requirements and a microscope on lenient sentencing, there's no arguing repeat offenders are busy committing crime in the metro and across New Mexico. But according to the APD's own official statistics, officers made nearly 10,000 fewer arrests in 2015 than in 2010 when the department had hundreds of more officers.
According to APD's annual reports -- available to anyone online -- the department had only 832 officers in 2015. In 2010, APD was already under-staffed but holding steady with a much healthier 1,065 officers on patrol.
Police Chief Gorden Eden has insisted there is no correlation between staffing and crime.
"It's a disaster what's happened from 2010 to 2015," Albuquerque Police Officers Union President Shaun Willoughby said.
Willoughby said the department's own numbers fly in the face of Eden's position.
Take robbery, for instance. There were 940 cases in 2010, compared to 1,686 in 2015 -- the latest official data available.
Auto theft has skyrocketed. Compare 2,773 cases in 2010 to 5,179 reported, according to the department's 2015 annual report.
Total violent crime has also spiked across the board. There were 4,491 violent crime cases in 2010, according to APD, and 5,049 in 2015.
The union believes the 2016 numbers will dwarf the 2015 report. An initial auto theft number released by the organization estimates 8,040 cars were stolen in 2016. There's only one thing different about the department's staffing.
"We had about 300 more police officers (in 2010) than we have today," said Willoughby.
When KOB has asked APD about the increase in crime, they've pointed to the historically low inmate population at the Bernalillo County jail -- arguing fewer inmates in jail equals more repeat offenders being let out and sentenced lightly.
But it is also true, according to the department's statistics, officers are arresting far fewer people to begin with -- nearly 10,000 fewer people than five years ago. According to the reports, officers arrested 31,176 people in 2010. In 2015, just 22,820 total arrests were made.
"There are 700 less arrests a month. That's 700 criminals, 700 DWIs, 700 disturbances, 700 of every type of crime category you can imagine. They're not even going to jail," said Willoughby. "It's just frustrating for me to hear the city say the increase of crime is not related to staffing when every indication in their own data shows that it is."
KOB encourages you to study the department's official annual reports for yourself:
Updated: February 15, 2017 10:05 PM
Created: February 15, 2017 09:11 PM
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