Albuquerque— The Albuquerque Police Department has recently arrested more than 10 people in a month’s time who have taken bait items out of city-owned vehicles, Mayor Richard J. Berry announced Tuesday.
Those arrested include Erasmo Galano, 44, Omar Motero, 47, Julia Marquez, 15, Ricky Ross, 54, Garbiel Romo, 35 Angelo Godla, 18, Efren Perchez, 43, who are all are facing theft related charges. They were caught in separate incidents stealing either copper wire, DVD players, sunglasses, diaper bags, purses or laptops.
Last September, Mayor Berry announced that APD had acquired new technology to bait
small items such as laptops, cameras and cell phones. For the past few months APD has been perfecting the technology and are placing items in undercover vehicles.
“We are seeing a lot of success with our bait program,” Mayor Berry said. “Thieves need to know that if they want to steal something out of a vehicle, there is a good chance it belongs to us.”
The detectives are choosing areas based on predictive crime analysis. Each week, APD crime analysts issue a map indicating where crime is likely to occur. The detectives use the map to decide where they are going to place their bait items.
“We are on the cutting edge of law enforcement,” Chief Ray Schultz said. “We don’t look at where crime occurred anymore. We look at where it is going to occur. We are now targeting our enforcement to areas that are likely to see crime.”
For the past three years, APD has been using bait cars to catch auto thieves. After seeing auto thefts decline and auto burglaries increase, detectives decided to change their tactics targeting thieves who break into cars. In June there was and average of 190 auto burglaries a week committed in Albuquerque. Last week there were 115 auto burglaries.
APD is still using bait cars and are in the process of increasing its fleet to 20 vehicles. Detectives have been putting the vehicles in neighborhoods, parking lots, hotels and big box stores.
In January 2010, Mayor Berry unveiled a 15-part plan to reduce property crime in Albuquerque. The use of bait technology was one of the components of the plan.