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Police Department town hall

LCPD to add 20 officers, violent crime down in 2023


The number of Las Cruces police officers will increase from 201 to 220 in July, Police Chief Miguel Dominguez said May 25 during a Las Cruces Police Department (LCPD) town hall meeting at City Hall.

The meeting, which had about 35 attendees in addition to LCPD leadership and city staff, included an update on city crime statistics, LCPD training and outreach and answers to questions from the public.

Dominguez and LCPD deputy chiefs Jeremy Story and Sean Mullen said preliminary statistics show violent crime has decreased by nearly 50 percent in Las Cruces during the first three months of 2023, while property crime, driven by increases in burglaries and auto burglaries, has increased by 10 percent.

The decrease in violent crime “is great news for us and great news for our city,” Dominguez said.

LCPD recorded 100 incidents of violent crime, including homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assault, January-March 2023, compared to 192 incidents during the same period in 2022. Homicide was down from five incidents to two, rape was up from nine incidents to 11 and aggravated assault was down from 151 reports to 70.

There were 1,516 property crimes reported during the first quarter of 2023, compared to 1,383 during the same three months in 2022, LCPD said.

There were 80 residential burglaries reported in 2023, compared to 71 during the same period in 2022; 84 commercial burglaries in 2023 compared to 76 in 2022; 68 non-residential burglaries in 2023 and 52 in 2022; 34 reports of breaking and entering in 2023 and 46 in 2022; 346 auto burglaries in 2023 compared to 234 in 2022, 65 reports of felony larceny/theft in 2023 compared to 123 in 2022; 335 reports of misdemeanor shoplifting in 2023 compared to 274 in 2022; 200 reported vehicle thefts in 2023 compared to 231 in 2022; and three reports of arson in 2023 compared to six in 2022.

Dominguez said 60 percent of vehicles stolen January-March 2023 have been recovered.

Story said the number of vehicle burglaries could be substantially reduced if people locked their vehicles, did not leave valuables visible in vehicles and did not leave vehicles running while unattended.

Training Director Lt. Josh Savage said the LCPD Academy requires 1,049 hours of cadet training, compared to 677 hours mandated by the state. For LCPD, that includes the required hours of training: 46: domestic violence, 111: use of force/defensive tactics training, 64: crisis intervention and communication skills, 125: firearms and 96: scenario-based training.

In response to a question from the public about the possibility of the city creating a police oversight committee, Dominguez said that structure already exists through OIR Group, the company hired by the city to audit LCPD twice annually.

Dominguez said OIR’s audits are “far more intense” than those provided by the department’s two previous auditors. LCPD has taken OIR’s recommendations to improve department policies, procedures and training, he said.

Dominguez said there was a 50 percent reduction in use of force by LCPD officers during the first three months of 2023, due in part to increased de-escalation training.

To see 2021, 2022 and first-quarter 2023 city crime statistics, visit www.lascruces.gov/2589/Police and click on “LCPD Transparency.”

The transparency page also includes LCPD’s 2022 annual report and intern affairs reports; a community crime map showing locations of property crimes in the city; the latest audit from OIR Group; LCPD’s use of force review process; the complaint investigation process; the LCPD budget; the training academy; the department’s standard operating procedures; public information requests; and social media links.