BOSQUE FARMS/PERALTA—Crimes reported in the two northernmost municipalities of Valencia County decreased significantly from 2017 to 2018, according to information provided by the village of Bosque Farms Police Department.
In Bosque Farms, in the categories of homicide, rape, robbery, assault, burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft, reported incidents went from 116 total to 81.
In the town of Peralta, which is served by the BFPD, those same categories cumulatively dropped from 155 incidents to 80.
Neither city had a homicide during those two years and only one reported rape each — Peralta in 2017 and Bosque Farms in 2018.
Both cities had small numbers of robberies in the two years at three total, all in the village.
Bosque Farms Police Chief Paul Linson said the low number of robberies was most likely due to the village’s businesses having low foot traffic and not being open much past 9 p.m.
“You see a lot more robberies in areas that have high-pedestrian traffic and storefronts that are open later,” Linson said.
Larceny numbers also took a dip, with Bosque Farms dropping from 44 to 28, and Peralta from 40 to 27.
In Peralta, the number of motor vehicle thefts decreased from 45 to eight, and in Bosque Farms, from 20 to 14. The number of burglaries in the village went from 14 to 2, and from 22 to 14 in Peralta.
Linson said all the crimes in the two municipalities go back to narcotics.
“That is what we really want to focus on. When narcotics crimes are down, so are other crimes, especially property crimes,” the chief said. “If you’re working one, you’re working the other.”
Since being named as chief for Bosque Farms in October, Linson has taken a “boots-on-the-ground” approach to policing the village and Peralta.
“We’ve been doing simple things, like being out at night patrolling and walking the streets,” he said. “Recently, with an (Albuquerque Police Department) task force, we walked a neighborhood, just going door-to-door talking to people. After just a couple of houses, we had some good information.”
Being out of their cars and on foot has officers taking more of a “beat cop” approach, Linson said, rather than staying in their patrol units and driving neighborhoods.
“That way we make contact with people and our officers are out looking around,” he said. “We do a lot of traffic control as well. Even a simple traffic stop can lead to something. We recently stopped a guy on his cell phone and found a loaded syringe of heroin in the car with him.”
Although the two cities are predominately rural and agricultural, residents shouldn’t be lulled into the sense that nothing happens, the chief said.
To that end, being in such close proximity to Albuquerque, the BFPD has recently partnered with Albuquerque Metro Crime Stoppers.
“They are helping us put out information, generate fliers we can hand out,” Linson said.
Any local tips called into Crime Stoppers go directly to the chief, he said, and are assigned to officers for follow up.
“We’ve only been working with them for a few weeks, but we’ve picked up a lot of good crime from this,” he said. “They have the resources and money to really help support our department.”
The chief said the department is continuing with officer training as well as hiring well-trained and experienced officers.
Residents in both communities can do simple things to help reduce crime, Linson said.
“Don’t make yourself an easy victim. Don’t leave our car unlocked in the driveway. Don’t leave valuables in your vehicle,” he said. “Lock your doors and windows. Keep your garage doors closed. Basic, common sense things.
“And always, if you see something suspicious, report it. We rely on the public 100 percent to be our eyes and ears.”
Julia M. Dendinger began working at the VCNB in 2006. She covers Valencia County government, Belen Consolidated Schools and the village of Bosque Farms. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists Rio Grande chapter’s board of directors.