Why Los Lunas, New Mexico is Among America's Most Dangerous Cities

MattGush / iStock via Getty Images

Cities across the United States have been reporting a spike in gun violence and homicide during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the first six months of 2020, there was a nearly 15% increase in murders nationwide, and across a sample of 59 cities tracked by the FBI, the number of murders was up 28% from January through July compared to the same period in 2019, according to The New York Times.

The increase reflects a sudden reversal of a longer-term trend, as violent crime has fallen in the U.S. for four consecutive years. There were 367 violent crimes reported for every 100,000 people in the United States in 2019, a low not seen since 2014 and a far cry from the highs of the early 1990s, when rates topped 750 violent crimes per 100,000 people annually.

Violent crime is a broad category of offenses comprising four sub categories: murder, robbery, rape, and aggravated assault. In Los Lunas, New Mexico, violent crime is more than three times more common than it is nationwide. In 2019, the most recent year of available data, there were a total of 205 violent crimes reported in the city — or 1,287 for every 100,000 people. Click here to see the full crime report for Los Lunas.

The FBI tracked violent crime in 4,548 U.S. cities with populations of at least 5,000 in 2019, and 98% of those cities reported at least one violent crime that year. Of the 4,473 cities to report one or more incidents of violence, Los Lunas ranks No. 67 by violent crime rate, which ranks it in the top 10% most violent U.S. cities.

Just as violent crime is more common in Los Lunas than it is nationwide, violent crime is also more common in New Mexico than it is nationwide. There were a total of 17,450 violent crimes reported in New Mexico in 2019, or 832 for every 100,000 people. Of all 50 states, New Mexico has the 2nd highest violent crime rate.

The violent crime rate in Los Lunas ranks as No. 4 of the 23 cities in New Mexico that are home to at least 5,000 people for which the FBI has data.

Across the United States, aggravated assault is the most common form of violent crime. Of the 1.2 million violent crimes committed in the U.S. in 2019, about 66% were incidents of aggravated assault. In Los Lunas, aggravated assault accounted for 90% of all reported violent crimes in 2019.

Of the four types of violent crime, murder ranks the highest on the FBI’s hierarchy of crime severity. Los Lunas, a city of about 15,900 residents, is one of 2,956 U.S. cities reviewed to report no murders in 2019. The national murder rate stands at five incidents for every 100,000 people.

The relationship between economic distress and crime in a given area is not direct. However, lower-income areas often report higher than average crime rates. In keeping with this pattern, just as the violent crime rate is considerably higher than the national average in Los Lunas, so too is the poverty rate. An estimated 20.0% of Los Lunas residents live below the poverty line, compared to the 14.1% U.S. poverty rate.

Violent offenses are just one component of crime in an area. To provide a more comprehensive view of overall crime levels across the country, 24/7 Wall St. recently published extensive crime reports with data visualizations for over 4,000 cities and all 50 states. Click here to see the complete crime report for Los Lunas here.

ALERT: Take This Retirement Quiz Now  (Sponsored)

Take the quiz below to get matched with a financial advisor today.

Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests.

Here’s how it works:
1. Answer SmartAsset advisor match quiz
2. Review your pre-screened matches at your leisure. Check out the advisors’ profiles.
3. Speak with advisors at no cost to you. Have an introductory call on the phone or introduction in person and choose whom to work with in the future

Take the retirement quiz right here.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us?
Contact the 24/7 Wall St. editorial team.