Perception vs. Reality: Is crime increasing or decreasing in New Mexico?

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Nobody is celebrating the crime picture in New Mexico. The Albuquerque Police Department is reporting 94 people were killed by homicide so far this year.

However, a recent Gallup poll is showing people may think crime is actually worse than it really is.

Dramatic video sometimes amplified on social media, and how often we report on crime may have contributed to your incorrect perception, according to a recent NBC News article citing new data from a Gallup poll.

Results of the poll show most Americans believe there is more crime than a year ago. APD Chief Harold Medina says their crime stats show otherwise.

“It’s frustrating. When people are like, ‘Ah, the city is out of control.’ We know our numbers are going down,” said Medina. 

Medina says homicide, car theft, and property crime are all down compared to last year.

Ryan Laughlin: “What do you say to your opponents who might say property crime is down because people just aren’t reporting it? What do you say to that?” 

“You know what? There’s always been some givings in this job. There’s always been unreported crime. There’s always been calls holding,” said Medina.

Medina says there’s no data showing unreported crime is increasing.

However, the FBI has data from 96 of 130 New Mexico law enforcement agencies. While the picture is incomplete, it shows violent crime is down in cities big and small nationwide this year – and in our region -compared to the same time last year.

Still, the chief wants to change perceptions.

“That’s what it’s all about is making sure that they know that we hear their voice and what their frustrations are and that we’re addressing those issues,” said Medina. 

Notably, the perceptions of the crime picture change depending on your political party. 92% of Republicans think crime has gone up, whereas 58% of Democrats believe crime is rising.

While a record-high 63% of adults say the crime situation is serious or very serious, it’s not the top concern. The government, economy, inflation, and immigration took the top spots for people’s concern.

For more information on the Gallup poll, click here.