Albuquerque murder rate drops 31 percent

Updated: 01/10/2014 6:26 PM | Created: 01/10/2014 5:08 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Albuquerque may have an image as a violent western city, but look again: Last year the murder rate took a big drop.

Police don't like to predict a trend since it might spike again next year. But a decline of nearly one-third from the year before is hard to ignore.

The last murder of 2013 was one Albuquerque cops won't forget: 9-year-old Omaree Varela, kicked to death by his own mother. He was the 29th murder victim of the year in Albuquerque, and while one is too many, that's a big decrease from 42 murders in 2012– a drop of 31 percent.

"Most people don't go out and say I'm going to commit a homicide today," said APD Commander Anthony Montano, who believes the key may be more intervention in other types of criminal behavior. "Usually it's the result of maybe domestic violence, armed robbery, maybe a property crime that's gone bad and even narcotics."

Here's the amazing statistic: Out of those 29 homicides last year, APD has already cleared–or solved–25 of them. That's an 86 percent clearance rate, which is far better than most other cities of about the same size.

"My opinion? We have fabulous detectives," Montano said. "We have detectives that work in all these respective units that really have the passion for solving crimes. They look at all these crimes as if the victim was maybe a family member, so obviously they put in the extra hours.'

Another thing that helps with that clearance rate: Albuquerque is still just a great big small town. People talk, police listen and criminals get caught.

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