Bosque Farms — The Bosque Farms Police Department has experienced an increase in calls for service while seeing a decrease in many crimes.
The officers provide law enforcement services for both the village of Bosque Farms and the town of Peralta, where both had a steady yearly increase in calls for service. In 2023, the department received 6,278 calls between the two communities. There were 5,908 calls in 2022 and 4,050 calls in 2021.
However, the number of crimes in both jurisdictions has decreased across most categories.
“The biggest thing in law enforcement is not just investigating but deterring the crimes,” said Bosque Farms Police Chief Andrew Owen. “I think the officers being out — having more visible units — helps people. It gives the community a sense of security as well as it sends the message, that we are out there.”
As calls for service increase, police officers are taken off the streets to investigate. This limits the ability to patrol and deter criminal behavior.
The average call for service takes an officer about 30 minutes, Owens says, while making a report without an arrest adds another 30 minutes. If there is an arrest, it adds an hour, and DWI arrests can take two to three hours due to extensive documentation.
“So, you take that into account a total of 627 reports,” Owen says. “That’s a lot of time for 15 sworn officers.”
DWI arrests in the two northern Valencia County municipalities dropped in 2023 — 14 total compared to the 47 arrests in 2022 — a 71 percent decrease.
There was an 86 percent decrease in drug offenses in the two towns. In 2023, there were a total of three, compared to 21 offenses in 2022. Owen attributes the decline in drug offenses and DWI arrests to several factors — increased individual responsibility regarding drinking and driving, the legalization of marijuana and officers being diverted from traffic stops to respond to service calls, noting that most drug offenses originate from traffic stops.
The Bosque Farms and Peralta areas had a decrease in the number of assaults and batteries — 13 total in 2023, six in Bosque Farms and seven in Peralta — a 41 percent decrease from the 22 reported in 2022.
An area that did increase was CYFD referrals. There were 53 in 2023, a 51 percent increase, compared to the 27 cases in 2022.
“I think that’s going up because we’re getting a lot more from our mandatory reporters — the school counselors, nurses, health professionals as well as babysitters and daycare centers,” said the chief. “They see a bruise and they immediately call.”
Around 60 to 70 percent of the calls are classified as screen outs, meaning after evaluating a situation or incident, officers decide not to take any further action or investigation, the chief explained.
“We have to go and properly investigate it and make sure we got to protect your kids,” said Owen. “We want to conduct the investigation and work with the parents because sometimes the parents need resources.”
The number of auto burglaries dropped from 11 in 2022 to three in 2023 — a 17 percent decrease. The number of criminal damage to property cases increased by 17 percent, 30 reports in 2023 and 25 in 2022.
The decrease in auto burglaries is attributed by the chief to officers patrolling neighborhoods instead of staying on main roads.
The number of residential burglaries has remained consistent over the past two years, with six reported incidents.
Shoplifting decreased by 39 percent, while larceny only decreased by 7 percent — there were 68 shoplifting reports in 2022 and 42 in 2023, with 14 larceny reports in each of those years.
Chief Owen emphasized the critical importance of diligently creating reports.
“If we make an arrest on somebody, we’re taking their rights away from them. We have to make sure that it’s done very meticulously,” he said. “Otherwise, we run into scandals like APD, and my officers would have the moral compass that they would never do that because that’s the first and foremost thing when we took our oath. We protect our citizens’ rights.”
Jesse Jones lives in Albuquerque with his wife and son. Jesse graduated from of the University of New Mexico twice. This spring, he graduated with a degree in multimedia journalism and, in 2006, he received a bachelor’s degree in university studies with an emphasis in photojournalism. He is a current fellow of the New Mexico Local News Fund.