Crime Beat

ABQ Homicides Up 65% Under Keller, 30% Rise Nationally

The FBI’s newly released crime statistics for 2020 show a 30% increase in homicides nationally compared to 2019.

Albuquerque recorded 76 murders in 2020, four fewer than in 2019. However, with a record homicide rate in 2021 (88 according to the City of Albuquerque, as of October 1), the four year-average under Mayor Tim Keller is on track to surpass the previous administration’s homicide rate by 65%.

During his second term, Republican Mayor Richard Berry oversaw an average of 52 homicides a year through 2017, when Keller was elected in December (Berry averaged 39 murders a year during his first term).

Now, with 88 homicides so far in 2021, Albuquerque is on track to surpass 117, increasing Keller’s first-term average to 86 per year.

During the mayoral race, Keller has defended his record on crime by blaming national trends. The data shows that Albuquerque’s homicide rate was on the rise well before the racial reckoning of 2020. Nationally, homicides before 2020 had been declining since at least 2015, while Albuquerque’s murder rate was trending up.

2021 is on track to surpass 2020 nationally as well as locally, but based on data from major U.S. cities compiled through June of this year, the 16% increase anticipated nationally will pale in comparison to Albuquerque’s projected 54% increase. 

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