ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Everyone knows Albuquerque is full of car thieves, but apparently it’s even worse than you think. Albuquerque just jumped to the number two spot in the country for car theft.
Chances are if you live in Albuquerque, you or someone you know, has had a car stolen.
“It makes me feel just unsafe,” said car theft victim Isaac Barba.
“I started freaking out, I called my husband, started crying,” said Semele Haney, another car theft victim.
Thanks to Facebook pages like ABQ Alert, people hear about those thefts a lot. The vehicles are stolen from right outside homes, offices and even from car dealerships.
“The guy just walked to the car in a second and it was gone, that was it,” said Sun City Car Dealership salesman Ricardo Alvarez.
The new numbers show that perception is actually reality. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the Albuquerque metro area has the second most car thefts in the country per capita, coming in only behind Modesto, California. According to FBI crime data, 6,657 cars were stolen in 2015. In just one year, Albuquerque jumped up 10 spots on the list.
“It’s actually not surprising,” said Accessories Unlimited Employee Kai Evangelista.
All those thefts have some people seeking out security. Accessories Unlimited says alarms and tracking devices are flying off the shelves and those sales increase after stories like this one.
Evangelista said, “That’s one of the first things we hear is either my friend, or family member, got their vehicle broken into or they heard a news report.”
Other than locking down your car, common sense can stop you from being a victim, like not leaving your car warming up. That’s something Albuquerque Police keeps warning people about.
“Even if you lock the car with your keys in it, they’re gonna get into it. If they want that car, they’re gonna get in,” said Albuquerque Police Officer Simon Drobik.
Previously APD said it had no idea why the numbers are so high, but they suspect the justice system is too relaxed on car thieves.
Drobik said, “This is turnstile justice, they’re just out, so once we grab these guys, the guys aren’t ending their shift and the guys already back up to his old tricks.”
Nearby Denver was ranked 33 on this list. Phoenix took the number 80 spot and Tucson is 99th. Click here to see the entire list.