Crime rates on the decline

By Jesse Moya jmoya@taosnews.com
Posted 1/31/20

During Tuesday's (Jan. 28) regular town council meeting, Taos Police Chief David Trujillo congratulated his officers for lowering overall crime rates in the town.

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Crime rates on the decline

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During Tuesday's (Jan. 28) regular town council meeting, Taos Police Chief David Trujillo congratulated his officers for lowering overall crime rates in the town.

Trujillo presented a report to the council showing an overall decrease in crime within the past three years. Through a number of efforts by the town council and town staff, the department was able to cut down on property crimes, burglaries and larcenies.

"This is one of the areas we are most proud to report," Trujillo said of the recent stats.

Total crimes for 2019 were lowered to 507 from 698 in 2017. Property crimes also fell within those three years. Trujillo reported a more than 50 percent decrease in the number of burglaries from 2018 to 2019.

Trujillo attributed these significant drops to a number of goals met by the town, including asking town staff to sit with his officers to find out exactly what resources they were needing to get their jobs done. Some of those conversations included finding pay raises for officers as well as new vehicles for the department.

"It's really great to see the numbers go down, but it's also great to see it's been done professionally," said councilor Pascualito Maestas.

Maestas said the town currently has no excessive force or related litigation stemming from the police department. Earlier this month, however, Taos Police Officer Gabriel Blea was charged with interference with communications, a misdemeanor, related to an incident with his wife on Jan. 10.

According to Trujillo's report, violent crimes have been on the rise since 2017, including assault crimes, which reached a three-year high of 183 in 2019.

"We'll do some work to bring these numbers down and find out where the problem is," town manager Rick Bellis said during the meeting.

Trujillo compiles the crime data each year and presents the council with the report. According to his numbers, the crime trends in Taos match the national trends with property crimes decreasing and violent crimes on the rise.

Bellis and Trujillo congratulated the department on their efforts and handed out certificates to the officers and staff of the Taos Police Department.

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