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Albuquerque sees 11% decrease in auto-theft while, most cities saw increase

National report show 1% increase in auto-theft nationwide surpassing 1 million cars stolen
June 14, 2024

ALBUQUERQUE –  Auto theft decreased by 11% in a four-county metro area, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau. Albuquerque has now dropped from sixth to seventh place, having been listed worse in the nation from 2016-2018.

“Auto theft is a quality of life issue that has always been a top priority for me as Chief, having brought the bait car program to the city,” said Chief of Police Harold Medina.  “Seeing our metro area drop in the rankings year after year shows our continued commitment to these property crimes and we hope the community is starting to see the impact.”

The report, which analyzed auto thefts from January through December of 2023 found a 1% increase in thefts nationwide. The metro is listed 7th, behind Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA in 6th, listed at 1st; Memphis, TN, listed at 2nd, Pueblo, CO, listed at 3rd, Bakersfield, CA, listed at 4th, San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley, CA, and Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO listed in 6th.

Hyundai and Kia vehicles ranked among the highest makes to be stolen in 2023, which NICB says is likely driven by social media trends that demonstrate how to steal those vehicles quickly and easily. The Hyundai Elantra had the highest total thefts nationwide.

Auto theft reached a peak in Albuquerque in 2017 and has gone down dramatically since then. Auto Theft declined by 34% between 2017 and 2021, but increased in 2022. However, the Albuquerque Metro showed an 11% decline in auto-thefts in 2023.

Among several contributing factors, APD has a robust Bait Car program catching thieves in the act, a top 10 Auto Theft Offender list, frequent public service announcement pushed out regarding car warm-up thefts, and detectives are building stronger cases against serial auto-theft offenders.