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ABQ Stolen Car Capital Of Nation

ABQ Stolen Car Capital Of Nation

The surge in auto thefts here was stunning.

The Albuquerque area has made it to the top of another list of shame: auto thefts.

In 2016, the metro area had the highest auto theft rate in the nation — up from second place in 2015 — and far surpassing the second-worst place, Pueblo, Colorado.

The numbers are staggering.

In 2016, the metro area had 10,011 auto thefts, or 1,114 per 100,000 people, according to new figures from the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

Pueblo, Colorado had 1,325 thefts, or 899 per 100,000 residents.

The surge in auto thefts here was stunning.

In 2014, the four-county region had 4,754 auto thefts, or 525 per 100,000 residents. Last year there were 6,657 thefts, or 734 per 100,000 people.

The Albuquerque Police Officers Association has blamed the city’s skyrocketing crime rate on a lack of cops. For years, the Albuquerque Police Department has been chronically understaffed. The department has been budgeted for 1,000 officers, but has hoovered in the 830 to 850 range for years.

APOA President Shaun Willoughby has blamed the department’s decline directly on Mayor Richard Berry, who he said started the department’s down fall in 2010 when he broke the union’s contract, eliminated a negotiated pay raise and imposed pay cuts in an effort to close a budget gap.

So how bad is Albuquerque’s auto theft problem?

The figures come out to around 27 vehicles stolen every day.

Here’s a look at the top five areas for auto theft in the U.S.:

1. Albuquerque: 10,011 thefts; 1,114 per 100,000 people.

2. Pueblo, Colo: 1,325 thefts; 899 per 100,000 people.

3. Bakersfield, Calif.: 7,076 thefts; 855 per 100,000 people.

4. Modesto, Calif.: 3,820 thefts; 768 per 100,000 people.

5. San Bernadino, Calif: 25,708 thefts; 697 per 100,000 people.

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Dennis Domrzalski is managing editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at dennis@freeabq.com.

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