The Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office worked to maintain a strong, visible presence in 2021, aiming to make the county safe. And that effort yielded encouraging results.

Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office

Crime was down across the board in 2021, continuing a downward trend seen in recent years.

“I think the county has been very in tune to keeping us staffed. Even though we’ve had a lot of deputies leave, we’ve been able to rehire. And we’ve been able to keep a pretty good amount of deputies fielding the streets, even with COVID,” said Chief Deputy Allen Mills.

The number of reported assaults, residential burglaries and auto burglaries dropped considerably in 2021.

There were 22 assaults in 2021, down 71.8 percent from 2020 and down 85.2 percent from 2019, according to SCSO numbers. In 2021, there were 18 residential burglaries, down 41.9 percent from 2020 and 67.8 percent from 2017, as well as nine auto burglaries, down 65.4 percent from 2020.

Mills said the burglary statistics from 2021 largely came down to one “crew” coming from places like Los Lunas, Belen and Albuquerque and hitting a location every couple of days over two-or three weeks before they’re caught.

“They find the unincorporated areas of the county, whether it’d be Cochiti or Placitas, or they hit trail heads… and they just keep coming back until they’re caught,” Mills said.

He also said the lower number of burglaries can be attributed to be people being at home more often during the pandemic.

Data on 2021 robberies was unavailable, but Mills said he didn’t recall there being any, given the limited number of stores in the unincorporated areas of the county.

There were zero reported rapes in 2021. To put it into context, there were three reported rapes in 2017, one reported rape for both 2018 and 2019, and two reported rapes in 2020, according to SCSO.

There was just one reported homicide in 2021, down four from 2020, with the suspect in that case awaiting trial.

There were 20,521 service calls in 2021, yielding 469 arrests and 69 DWI arrests, according to the sheriff’s office. Traffic stops and self-initiated area, home and business checks represented about 8,800 of those calls.

There were 247 domestic violence calls, 250 shots fired calls — typically on the mesa outside of town, per the data — 860 animal control calls and 40 neighborhood dispute calls in 2021.

Despite losing 13 deputies to other agencies, the sheriff’s office filled 16 deputy positions in 2021.