ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Motor vehicle thefts reported by New Mexico law enforcement agencies jumped about 36 percent in 2015 from the year before, according to new FBI data.
Police in New Mexico aren’t sure what caused the jump, but agencies around the state have complained about officer shortages and shrinking budgets that hurt specialized units that target crimes such as auto thefts.
The increase highlights the growing anxiety about rising property crime in New Mexico as those offenses fall nationally.
The statistics released Monday show the estimated number of motor vehicle thefts in New Mexico reached 8,526 last year, a 35.5 percent surge from the 2014 figure.
The estimated number of motor vehicle thefts in the nation was 707,758, a 3.1 percent increase, the FBI said.
Albuquerque had a motor vehicle theft rate of 925.3 per 100,000 people — the highest in the state — followed by Belen, which had a rate of 615.6.
The border city of Sunland Park had one of the state’s lowest rates at 108.3.
Meanwhile, overall property crimes, which include burglaries, larcenies and other offenses, in New Mexico rose 4.4 percent last year while those crimes decreased nationwide for the 13trh straight year.
Gallup and Taos had two of the state’s highest property crime rates.