Preliminary crime statistics from 2022 show a mixed bag for Las Cruces including a microscopic decrease in total violent crimes, but a 27 percent increase in overall property crimes led by residential burglaries and vehicle thefts.
“The men and women of the Las Cruces Police Department take crime prevention seriously,” said Chief Miguel Dominguez. “But unfortunately, police cannot prevent all crimes. Over the last several years we have spoken to several community groups about crime prevention and what they can do to help. We have provided numerous tips on how to avoid becoming a victim of property crimes and we continue to ask our residents to heed those suggestions.”
Some of the numbers mirror trends that have plagued other U.S. cities since the Covid-19 year of 2020 when crime statistics nationwide began veering upward.
As for violent crime in 2022, Las Cruces police reported a nine percent decrease in robbery and a 2 percent drop in aggravated assault. Homicide increased 11 percent from nine incidents in 2021 to 10 in 2022. Rape also increased by 11 percent in 2022.
Violent Crime-Year: 2022 (2021)
• Criminal Homicide: 10 (9)
• Rape: 60 (54)
• Robbery: 78 (86)
• Aggravated Assault: 551 (562)
Total Violent Crime: 699 (711)
Property crimes increased by 27 percent in 2022 from the previous year:
Property Crime-Year: 2022 (2021)
• Residential Burglary: 394 (234)
• Commercial Burglary: 385 (219)
• Non-residential Burglary: 186 (166)
• Breaking and Entering: 189 (207)
• Auto Burglary: 1,161 (1,147)
• Felony Larceny: 492 (411)
• Misdemeanor Larceny: 1,243 (962)
• Misdemeanor Shoplifting: 1,232 (978)
• Vehicle Theft: 939 (595)
• Arson: 16 (10)
Total Property Crime: 6,237 (4,929)
“We’re never happy to see an increase in criminal cases,” said Dominguez. “We are not alone when it comes to seeing a spike in criminal behavior. Statistics across the country, particularly when it comes to property crimes, are showing similar increases since 2020.”
Some of the most noticeable property crime increases in 2022 were crimes of opportunity where perpetrators find little to no resistance to gaining access to property. In many auto theft cases, vehicles are left idling, unlocked and unattended making it easy for a perpetrator to steal. Some homes that were burglarized were left unsecured or with garage doors wide open. The overwhelming majority of auto burglaries were done to vehicles that were left unlocked or with valuables easily noticeable from the outside.
Commercial burglaries, the crime of burglarizing a business, increased 76 percent from 2021 to 2022. Commercial burglary losses can be limited by properly securing the structure when the business is closed and storing valuable merchandise in a safe or secure room.
The Las Cruces Police Department encourages home and business owners to invest in a good quality security system that captures video and sends an alert when the property has been breached. Doing so ensures a quicker response from police and can provide video evidence to help identify the perpetrator.