City Council Updated Crime Statistics, Leadership Academy and Revitalization of El Paseo-Solano

City of Las Cruces Report

The Las Cruces City Council updated during its Nov. 8 business session on the Las Cruces Police Department (LCPD) and the city’s Neighborhood Leadership Academy (NLA). The board also received a report from city staff on the El Paseo-South Solano Corridor Ad Hoc Committee.

The LCPD update provided statistics through the third quarter of 2021, which ended in September.

The board was informed that the LCPD currently had 172 commissioned officers through the end of September. The police department has 202 authorized positions. The 51st LCPD Academy will begin in January 2022 and the LCPD administration has set a target of 25-30 cadets to enroll.

The council also heard that the LCPD responded to 103,671 calls for service, from January to September 2021; 20,715 incident reports were filed; and 502 online reports were received by the end of September.

Other notable details shared by the LCPD with the board include:

  • Robberies increased by 61%, from 36 in 2020 to 58, from January 1 to September 1. 30, 2021.
  • The total number of violent crimes – including criminal homicides, sexual assaults, robberies and aggravated assaults – rose 22% from 433 incidents in 2020 to 529 from January 1 to September 1. 30.
  • The total number of property crimes, including burglaries, auto thefts, robberies, vehicle thefts and arson, is relatively unchanged for the whole of 2020 through the first nine months of 2021 .
  • Criminal thefts have increased by 117% over the past year, from 140 in 2020 to 304, from January 1 to September 1. 30.
  • Residential burglaries fell by 26%, from 214 in 2020 to 159, from January 1 to September 1. 30.
  • Non-residential burglaries are down 22% and commercial burglaries are down 21% so far in 2021.
  • Metro Narcotics has seized 105.7 pounds of methamphetamine, 23.2 pounds of cocaine, 10,399 fentanyl pills, one pound of heroin and 389 firearms so far in 2021.

The training of LCPD officers is significantly superior to that provided by the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy. Cadets at the LCPD’s 50th Academy received 1,081 hours of training, compared to 677 at the state’s Law Enforcement Academy (LEA). Training in the proper use of firearms at the 50th LCDD Academy lasted 136.5 hours, while the LEA provided 68 hours.

The NLA update briefed City Council members on efforts to continue the program taking into account the continued impacts of the pandemic. The NLA began in 2017 and continued until March 2020, when the pandemic forced it to be discontinued.

The NLA provides better knowledge of city government to help residents become effective neighborhood advocates and community leaders, according to the city’s office of community engagement. In five semesters, NLA was offered, 130 residents participated in the program. The goals of the NLA are to increase pride and understanding of city government operations; promote civic engagement and train neighborhood and community leaders.

Next steps in NLA programming include: à la carte classes, tours and access to next levels; bridging the digital divide; offer versions of NLA suitable for adults and young people in middle and high school; create shadowing and mentoring opportunities for adults and youth; the establishment of ambassadorial status for NLA alumni; and the growth of active neighborhood groups and the identification of residents who complete the ALN.

The El Paseo-South Solano Corridor Ad Hoc Committee met monthly from December 2020 through August 2021 to review the city’s policy on revitalization and conservation activities and efforts to create and maintain vibrant mixed-use corridors and residential neighborhoods in City Council Districts 2, 3, and 4 south of Las Cruces. Particular attention was given to the El Paseo Road and South Solano Drive corridors.

After reviewing current conditions and city policy, the committee approved nine proposed strategies that could trigger revitalization. These strategies were approved on November 8 by the members of the municipal council.

With council’s informal approval, the next steps are to take the recommendations and incorporate them into the city’s strategic plan, capital improvement program and future city budgets.