Las Cruces police: Crime rates decreased in 2023


Violent crime and property crime reports fell in 2023 compared to 2022, according to the Las Cruces Police Department.

Violent crime – a category encompassing shootings, sexual assaults, homicides, and robberies – fell by 18 percent while property crime – such as burglaries, break-ins, thefts, and shoplifting – decreased by 4 percent.

“It’s definitely a positive result that we should celebrate,” LCPD Chief Jeremy Story said during a town hall presentation on Jan. 23. “But we need to continue that overall trend in 2024.”

Violent crime falls 18 percent

Las Cruces typically has seen at least five homicides annually over the last 30 years, according to an analysis of the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report. Since 2019, that average has increased to 10 per year. 2023 bucked that trend and saw seven homicides in Las Cruces.

The increase in homicides (nearly all of which were the result of gun violence in Las Cruces) is likely tied to the wave of aggravated assaults that flooded the city since 2016. In this context, the FBI and LCPD define aggravated assault as the use of force or the threat of the use of force. It includes fist fights, shootings and everything in between.

In the 1990s, Las Cruces police reported between 400 and 500 aggravated assaults per year. The total fell in the 2000s and the 2010s to a record low of 70 reports in 2016. The trend reversed that year, and by 2021, Las Cruces set a 30-year record high for aggravated assaults at 562. Story reported that the trend seems to be on the decline again. He said Las Cruces reported 442 aggravated assaults in 2023.

Reports of sexual assault cases were down by 10 percent, from 60 reports to 54 reports. There’s reason to be skeptical of this data point, however. Only one in three rapes are reported, according to a national survey from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Lastly, there was a 14 percent decrease in robberies, defined as taking someone’s property by force. Incidents like carjackings, store hold-ups and muggings are included in this category. Las Cruces police reported 78 robberies in 2022 and 68 robberies in 2023.

The FBI’s data shows that robbery reports were about twice as high in the 1990s compared to today. However, the interim 30 years saw a steady decrease interrupted by a spike in 2021, which reached 86.


Property crime down 2 percent

Property crime dramatically increased in 2022 compared to 2021. However, that trend seems to have stabilized based on the 2023 reports, which saw a 2 percent decrease overall.

“That doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods, it doesn’t mean we don’t have a lot of work left to do, but it’s hopefully a positive trend in the right direction,” Story said.

A surge in vehicle thefts buoyed the increase in property crime in 2022.

From 2016 to 2022, vehicle thefts ballooned more than 300 percent, from 233 to 939. Nearly a decade of increased vehicle theft reports ended in 2023 with LCPD’s report of 815 in 2023, a 13 percent decrease.

Other year-to-year property crime comparisons include:

  • Residential burglary down 18 percent from 322 to 394.
  • Commercial burglary down 4 percent from 385 to 371.
  • Non-residential burglary down 22 percent from 186 to 226.
  • Breaking and entering down 28 percent from 189 to 137.
  • Auto burglary up 4 percent from 1,161 to 1,208.
  • Felony larceny down 20 percent from 492 to 394.
  • Misdemeanor larceny down 9 percent from 1,243 to 1,137.
  • Misdemeanor shoplifting up 22 percent from 1,232 to 1,501.
  • Arson down 50 percent from 16 to 8.


Other stats to know

But while overall crime reports fell, residents called LCPD more often in 2023.

Story said that LCPD received 150,182 calls for service in 2023, a 10 percent increase from 2022’s total of 136,280. Additionally, LCPD officers filed 24,207 incident reports in 2023 compared to 23,709 in 2022.

LCPD also had fewer “use of force” incidents in 2023 than in 2022, two years mired by the fatal shootings of Amelia Baca in 2022 and Teresa Gomez in 2023. 

Story reported a 21 percent decrease in use of force reports, from 328 in 2022 to 260 in 2023.

“Keep in mind, use of force is a wide spectrum,” Story said. “That’s anything from forced stabilization to non-compliant handcuffing to taser and other intermediate force to all the way up to deadly force.”  

Story said most force use is on the lower end of the spectrum.

“Even so, having a 21 percent reduction is significant,” Story said.

crime rate, Chief Jeremy Story, LCPD