ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A new study suggests that Albuquerque’s crime rate rises when fewer people are in jail.

According to the study of crime data, the number of people released from the Metropolitan Detention Center because of changes there and in the legal system, have had a greater influence on crime than the size of the police force or the economy, The Albuquerque Journal reported (

“That’s the most direct, straightforward relationship, and we researched it as best as we can,” said Peter Winograd, a retired University of New Mexico professor hired by the city to analyze local violent and property offense rates. “It’s causal. It’s not just correlation.”

The city commissioned Winograd to undertake the analysis after the release of 2015 crime data that found Albuquerque’s crime rate climbing.

“I hear people in the community talk about crime being the worst it’s ever been, when that’s simply not the fact,” said Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry. “I think it’s important from an economic development standpoint and a citizen’s standpoint to have some data on that.”

Violent crime rose 9.2 percent in 2015 compared with 2014, and the property crime rate rose by 11.5 percent, according to crime data.

While all crime statistics are up, property crime has particularly increased. In 2010, 2,773 auto thefts were reported in the city. In 2015, there were 5,179. Comparatively, the jail’s average population was 3,008 in 2010, and it was 1,713 in 2015.

People with a history of felony property crimes arrests commit 48 percent of auto thefts in the city, according to the study.

The jail population has been decreasing in part due to a November 2015 Supreme Court decision that reiterated that defendants in almost all cases were entitled to reasonable bail while awaiting trial.

Information from: Albuquerque Journal,

VIAThe Associated Press
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.