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Violent crime spikes again in ABQ; up by 18% in 2017; Up by 77% since 2012

Just how epic is Albuquerque's crime wave that began under then-Mayor Richard Berry?

Really epic. In 2017, violent crime in the city jumped by 18 percent over the previous year, and since 2012, violent crime has grown by an astonishing 77 percent.

The massive increase in 2017 was incredible when you consider that nonfatal shootings soared by a unbelievable 148 percent.

Homicides were up 23 percent, robberies were up by 43 percent, rapes were up 21 percent and aggravated assaults climbed by a mere 4.2 percent, according to new crime data the Albuquerque Police Department.

That big spike in crime last year followed a 15.5 percent increase in violent crime in the city in 2016, and a 13.3 percent jump in property crime. Actually, the city's crime rate has been climbing since 2012, and last June, the city was named the auto theft capital of the nation by the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

And during last year's mayoral race, crime, public safety and the Albuquerque Police Department were the biggest issues.

Many have blamed the sharp increase in crime in a corresponding decrease in the size of APD. The department had nearly 1,100 officers in 2010, but today has 845 full-time, sworn personnel. Many blame that decrease in manpower on the policies of former Mayor Richard Berry.

APD is budgeted for 1,000 officers, and Mayor Tim Keller has pledged to hire several hundred more officers.

The most eye-popping figures in the new crime stats are those for robberies, which increased by 43.6 percent, and nonfatal shootings, which, again, were up by 148 percent.

Retired APD Sgt. Dan Klein said the city's homicide rate probably would have been much higher were not for the efforts of paramedics, and doctors and nurses at the University of New Mexico Hospital.

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