Gun Violence in New Mexico

Ensuring the safety and health of our communities is a top priority for this administration. The Gun Violence Dashboard is a critical tool in our ongoing efforts to address the public health crisis of gun violence in New Mexico. By making this information readily available to all, we aim to empower our communities, foster active engagement, and drive informed policy-making. Gun violence extends beyond the realms of criminal justice; it is a pervasive public health issue that demands our collective attention and swift action.

Together, as a united New Mexico, we are taking a monumental step forward in creating safer, healthier communities for all our residents.

Gun violence as it relates to

Public Safety

Gun violence as it relates to

Public Health

Gun Violence and Public Safety

The Bernalillo County Violent Crime Reduction Operation

In September, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham declared gun violence a public health emergency following the murder of an 11-year-old boy on his way home from a baseball game. The Public Health Order aims to quickly reduce gun violence and encourages mayors, sheriffs and other officials to request emergency funding from the state to aide in this endeavor. This portion of the dashboard provides insights into the progress that is being made.

Progress Overview for the Bernalillo County Violent Crime Reduction Operation

Reporting Data from September 2023 – April 2024

9,094

Total Arrests

746

Firearms Seized

14,693

Traffic Citations

The Bernalillo County Violent Crime Reduction operation is currently in progress, involving collaborative efforts from New Mexico State Police, the Albuquerque Police Department (APD), the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO), the 2nd Judicial District Attorney, and the New Mexico Corrections Department.

This operation is focused on reducing violent crime in the area, and it involves a combination of arrests, citations, and gun seizures, with data from September and October being aggregated from these agencies.

In this section you will find:

State Police Gun Buy Back

New Mexico State Police Coordinated 2nd Gun Buyback to Promote Gun Safety and Reduce Gun Violence

On January 6, 2024, the New Mexico State Police held a second Gun Buyback event in Albuquerque, Las Cruces, Espanola, and Farmington. Participants anonymously exchanged unwanted firearms for Visa gift cards. The goal was to reduce gun-related harm and violence. Across the four cities, 1,289 guns were collected, with Albuquerque receiving 572, Las Cruces 443, Espanola 91, and Farmington 150. Additionally, 33 guns were donated. Of these, 10 were identified as stolen.

New Mexico State Police Coordinated Gun Buyback to Promote Gun Safety and Reduce Gun Violence

On Saturday, November 4, 2023, the New Mexico State Police coordinated a Gun Buyback event in Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Espanola. People anonymously handed in unwanted firearms and received Visa gift cards in return. Buybacks were intended to prevent unwanted or unneeded weapons from causing harm or being used to commit acts of violence.

A total number of 439 firearms were collected from the event. 279 firearms were bought back from the three locations. Albuquerque collected 56 handguns and 54 rifles. Las Cruces collected 31 handguns and 56 rifles. Espanola collected 19 handguns and 63 rifles. After all gift cards from the three locations were distributed, 160 more unwanted firearms were handed in.

The total number of handguns collected from the three locations was 179, and the number of rifles collected from the three locations was 260. Out of 439 firearms collected, 2 stolen firearms were recovered. “This was a proactive measure to help reduce the risk of tragedies involving guns. We wanted to help remove unwanted guns from our communities and prevent the risk of deadly accidents, homicides, and suicides” said Troy Weisler, Chief of the New Mexico State Police. Click here for official post.

Gunshot Detection Data

Gunshot detection systems employed by public safety departments serve to rapidly identify and locate gunshots in urban environments, reducing response times and enhancing officer safety. They contribute to public safety by deterring gun violence, aiding investigations, and providing valuable data for community engagement and policymaking.

Date Range Alerts of Gunfire or Probable Gunfire
September 18-21 166*
September 25-28 128*
October 18-21 203*
October 25-38 200*
November 18-21 184*
November 25-28 145*
December 18-21 151*
December 25-28 166*
January 15-18 113*
January 22-25 116*
February 12-15 85*
February 19-22 88*
March 11-14 76*
March 18-21 87*

* (39-3S shots fired code reported on CAD)

Gunshot detection in the last 6 months

In the last 6 months, our community has experienced a total of 6,891 gunshot detection incidents. Notably, Saturdays and Sunday nights stand out as the peak periods for such incidents. The hours between 23:00 and 03:00 show the highest frequency of gunshots. Specifically, Fridays average 866 incidents, Saturdays have accounted for 1,291 incidents, while Sundays have seen 1,267 incidents, making weekends particularly concerning for gun violence in our area. These statistics underscore the need for targeted efforts to address gun violence during these critical times and days to enhance public safety and reduce such incidents in our community.

Metropolitan Detention Center Inmate Population

METROPOLITAN DETENTION CENTER (MDC) INMATE POPULATION

* MDC inmates have been transferred to New Mexico Department of Corrections and remain in custody.

Additional Data: https://www.bernco.gov/county-manager/bernalillo-county-mdc-population-dashboard

1,679

MDC Population March

Gun Violence in Youth & Schools

Juveniles detained for a delinquent act where a firearm was involved

Month Number of Juveniles Detained
September 32
October 29
November 26
December 21
January 22
February 21
March 18
April 23

Firearms found at an APS School

Date Range Guns Found in APS Schools
September 8 2
September 28 1
October 5 3
October 12 0
October 19 0
October 26 0
November 1
December 3
January 0
February 0
March 1
April  0

192

Juveniles detained WHERE A GUN WAS PRESENT THIS SEPTEMBER 2023 Thru April 2024

162 Juveniles detained for a delinquent act where a firearm was involved.  Age range was from 13-18 years old.

50 of those 162 required an override to the states RAI system to hold in detention initially, as per our Directive.

23

Juveniles detained for a delinquent act where a firearm was involved. 

23 Juveniles detained for a delinquent act where a firearm was involved.  Age range was from 13-18 years old.

8 of those 23 required an override to the states RAI system to hold in detention initially, as per our Directive.

Gun Violence and Public Health

New Mexico Department of Health

Gun-related deaths are a serious public health concern in New Mexico.

 As in the rest of the United States, New Mexico continues to experience higher rates of firearm-related incidents, including homicides, suicides, and unintentional injuries. These injuries and deaths have profound emotional, physical, and economic consequences on individuals, their families, and communities.

The recent spate of gun-related tragedies in New Mexico, including the deaths of young children and the discovery of firearms in a high school, has brought to light the severe and escalating crisis of gun violence in the state. New Mexico faces one of the highest rates of firearms-related deaths among children in the U.S., underscoring the urgency of addressing this issue head-on. The contagious nature of violence, particularly gun violence, has been likened to that of an infectious disease, spreading rapidly throughout communities. Dr. Gary Slutkin from the University of Illinois has emphasized this perspective in his work, suggesting a need for immediate and decisive action to curb this epidemic.

The “Comprehensive Report on Gunshot Victims Presenting at Hospitals in New Mexico” by the New Mexico Department of Health highlights the dramatic increase in firearm-related violent deaths and injuries over the last two decades. Addressing this public health emergency necessitates a multifaceted approach, akin to strategies employed during disease outbreaks, including preventative measures, treatment for those affected, and ongoing support for families. Initiatives in New Mexico to combat gun violence include gun buy-back programs, distribution of free trigger locks, prioritized treatment for substance use disorders, and enforcing timely behavioral health treatment. However, the state faces significant challenges, particularly in the realm of behavioral healthcare, necessitating innovative solutions and community unity to protect the lives of young people and halt the spread of this violent epidemic.

The contagious nature of violence, particularly gun violence, has been likened to that of an infectious disease, spreading rapidly throughout communities.

METRIC #1: AGE-ADJUSTED FIREARM DEATH RATE

Why is the metric important?

The age-adjusted firearm death rate is used to examine the burden that firearm deaths place on all New Mexicans. This includes identifying groups or communities that are at higher risk for firearm death as well as determining the economic impact of firearm deaths (the burden on the healthcare system, plus medical costs and lost wages). In addition, this metric enables policy makers, public health officials, and researchers to assess the effectiveness of gun control policies designed to reduce gun-related injuries and fatalities.

Age-adjusted rates also allow for more accurate comparisons between groups with different age distributions. For example, a county having a higher percentage of elderly people may have a higher rate of death or hospitalization than a county with a younger population since the elderly are more likely to die or be hospitalized. (The same distortion can happen when comparing races, genders, or time periods.) Age adjustment is used here to account for differences in the age distribution of the U.S. versus New Mexico to compare rates of firearm injury death across time.

What are we doing to improve?

  • Creating partnerships to promote protective environments for children, youth, and families that have been shown to reduce violence in the community including gun violence.
  • Conducting the New Mexico Child Fatality Review (NM CFR), which identifies root causes of child fatalities involving firearms to make recommendations to prevent child injury and death
  • Integrating data from multiple data sources (police, medical examiner, toxicology) in the New Mexico Violent Death Reporting System (NM VDRS), which includes circumstances surrounding firearm-related deaths such as drug and alcohol abuse, mental health problems, domestic violence, and life stressors (i.e., job loss, physical health) to provide an evidence base for efforts to prevent firearm deaths in New Mexico

What are the expected outcomes?

  • Preventing future incidents of firearm-related injury by identifying gaps in services for gun violence survivors (overdose prevention, alcohol abuse, mental health services) 
  • Reducing easy access to firearms for individuals at risk for interpersonal violence 
  • Changing environmental conditions that facilitate all forms of violence in the community 
  • Partnering with businesses, hospitals, and community organizations to educate and facilitate the safe storage of firearms in New Mexican households

Age-Adjusted Firearm Injury Death Rate in New Mexico and the United States, 1999-2021

Age-Adjusted Firearm Injury Death Rate in New Mexico and the United States, 1999-2021

87% increase in firearm-related death rate in New Mexico between 2011 and 2021

What are the key highlights from the data?

  • Between 2010 & 2021, the age-adjusted firearm death rate in New Mexico increased by 87% (from 14.9 per 100,000 population in 2010 to 27.8 per 100,000 population in 2021).
  • Between 2010 & 2021, New Mexico’s rank increased from 7th highest in the U.S. to 3rd highest in the U.S.
  • In 2010, New Mexico’s age-adjusted firearm death rate was 48% higher than the U.S. In 2021, New Mexico’s age-adjusted firearm death rate was 90% higher than the U.S.

Age-Adjusted Death Rate for Firearm Fatalities, Suicide with a Firearm, & Homicide with a Firearm in New Mexico, 2018-2021

Age-Adjusted Death Rate for Firearm Fatalities, Suicide with a Firearm, & Homicide with a Firearm in New Mexico, 2018-2021

70% increase in homicides with a firearm since 2018

What are the key highlights from the data?

Between 2018 and 2021, New Mexico had an increase in the age-adjusted death rate for firearm fatalities including:

  • 34% increase in firearm fatalities (from 20.7 per 100,000 population in 2018 to 27.8 per 100,000 population in 2021)
  • 10% increase in suicide with a firearm (from 12.6 per 100,000 population in 2018 to 13.9 per 100,000 population in 2021)
  • 70% increase in homicide with a firearm (from 6.9 per 100,000 population in 2018 to 11.7 per 100,000 population in 2021)

METRIC #2: FIREARM INJURY EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT VISITS

Why is the metric important?

  • Since not all firearm injuries result in fatalities, hospital data from emergency departments provide an additional source of information about firearm injury in New Mexico. 
  • These data have been used as an early warning system for other public health concerns including seasonal flu outbreaks, opioid overdoses, e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury, Zika virus infection, and natural disasters (https://www.cdc.gov/nssp/index.html).
  • These data also provide public health officials with a timely way to detect, understand, and monitor the impact of health events (including firearm injury) on residents of New Mexico.

What are we doing to improve?

  • Monitoring trends in non-fatal firearm injury emergency department visits in New Mexican hospitals to detect and better understand the impact and geography of firearm injury on the lives of New Mexicans

  • Identifying and supporting New Mexicans at risk for firearm injury

  • Partnering with local communities to address and prevent incidents of gun violence by developing youth’s social, communication, and problem-solving skills.

What are the expected outcomes?

  • Increasing access to social support and social services for survivors of gun violence including education support, job training, culturally responsive mental health services, and medical services to interrupt retaliatory cycles of violence and reduce the likelihood of reinjury.

In this section you will find:

Limitations of data on firearm injury emergency department visits

  • Hospitals operated by the Indian Health Service (IHS) and Veteran’s Affairs are not included so the firearm injury risk for American Indians who use IHS and veterans may be systematically underreported.
  • Hospitals with inconsistent reporting or incomplete records are excluded for data quality purposes. Since participating hospitals can change from report to report due to data quality filters, reports should not be directly compared to each other.

Firearm Injury Emergency Department (ED) Visits (all ages) in New Mexico by Year, 2018-2022

Firearm Injury Emergency Department (ED) Visits (all ages) in New Mexico by Year, 2018-2022

Firearm injury emergency department visits have increased by 35% between 2018 & 2022

What are the key highlights from the data?

  • Firearm injury emergency department visits have increased by 35% between 2018 and 2022 (from 968 visits in 2018 to 1306 visits in 2022)

Why is this important?

The number of firearm injury emergency department visits is a critical metric for combating gun violence. These visits provide valuable data that can inform evidence-based policies and interventions aimed at reducing gun-related harm. By understanding the frequency and nature of firearm injuries treated in emergency departments, public health officials can identify trends, hotspots, and high-risk populations. This information is essential for developing targeted prevention strategies, raising awareness, and allocating resources effectively. Moreover, it underscores the urgent need to address gun violence as a public health crisis, focusing on both the physical and psychological trauma inflicted by firearms to create safer communities and ultimately save lives.

PERCENT FIREARM INJURY VISITS BY AGE GROUP IN NEW MEXICO, CURRENT YEAR (NOVEMBER 2022 – OCTOBER 2023)

Percent Firearm Injury Visits by Age Group in New Mexico, Current Year (November 2022 - October 2023)

More recent trends: Adults 18-49 are at increased risk for a firearm injury emergency department visit

What age groups are at risk for firearm injury emergency department visits?

  • The grey bar is the percent (of the age group) in the New Mexico population
  • The solid purple bar is the percent (of age group) that had a firearm injury emergency department visit
  • New Mexico residents who are aged 18-49 are at increased risk for firearm injury emergency department visits relative to their percentage in the NM population

Why is this important?

Examining the percentage of firearm injury visits by age group in New Mexico is crucial in the effort to combat gun violence. This data helps identify vulnerable populations and age-specific patterns of firearm-related injuries, aiding in the development of targeted prevention and intervention programs. By understanding which age groups are most affected, public health officials can tailor education, outreach, and support services accordingly. Additionally, it provides insights into the underlying factors contributing to gun violence within specific age cohorts, informing policies that address not only the immediate consequences of firearm injuries but also the root causes, ultimately working toward a safer society for all age groups.

Child (age 1-17) Firearm Injury Emergency Department Visits in NM, 2018-2022

Child (age 1-17) Firearm Injury Emergency Department Visits in New Mexico, 2018-2022

Child firearm injury emergency department visits have increased by 73% between 2018 (90 visits) and 2022 (156 visits)

Why is this important?

This data sheds light on the impact of firearms on our youngest and most vulnerable population, providing crucial insights into the circumstances and factors contributing to these injuries. By understanding the specific dynamics surrounding child firearm injuries, public health officials can develop targeted prevention strategies, gun safety education programs, and policies aimed at securing firearms in households with children. Such initiatives are vital for safeguarding our youth and mitigating the long-term physical and psychological consequences of childhood firearm injuries, ultimately working towards a safer environment for our children.

Child (Age 1-17) Firearm Injury emergency department Visits By Age Group and Year, 2018-2022

Child (Age 1-17) Firearm Injury Emergency Department Visits By Age Group and Year, 2018-2022

Firearm injury emergency department visits increased by 100% for youth age 1-13 (from 23 to 46) and 64% for youth age 14-17 (from 67 to 110) between 2018 and 2022

Why is this important?

This granular data enables public health experts to track trends over time, identifying any shifts in firearm-related injuries among specific age groups within this vulnerable population. By discerning these patterns, policymakers can develop targeted interventions and educational campaigns aimed at preventing child firearm injuries. This approach is essential for creating safer environments for children and addressing the unique challenges and risks they face concerning gun violence, ultimately contributing to a more comprehensive strategy to reduce firearm-related harm among youth.

Child Firearm Injury ED Visits by Age Group & Sex for Current Year (Nov'22-Oct'23) vs. Previous Year (Nov'21-Oct'22)

Child Firearm Injury ED Visits by Age Group & Sex for Current Year (Nov'22-Oct'23) vs. Previous Year (Nov'21-Oct'22)

More recent trends: Males age 1-13 (+60%), and males age 14-17 (+42%) are at increased risk for firearm injury emergency department visits

What are the key highlights from the data?

Over the past two years, firearm injury emergency department visits have:

  • Increased by 60% (from 30 to 48 ED visits) for males age 1-13
  • Increased by 42% (from 89 to 126 ED visits) for males age 14-17
  • Dropped by 7% (from 15 to 14 ED visits) for females age 1-13
  • Dropped by 10% (from 21 to 19 ED visits) for females age 14-17

Why is this important?

This data allows us to understand how different demographic groups are impacted by firearm-related incidents, identifying disparities and high-risk populations. By pinpointing where and why these injuries occur, public health officials can tailor prevention strategies, educational programs, and targeted interventions that address the specific needs of each group. Ultimately, this approach contributes to a more effective and comprehensive effort to reduce gun violence, working towards safer communities for individuals of all ages and genders.

METRIC #3: FIREARM INJURY PATIENT CARE REPORTS (PCRs)

What is NMEMSTARS? And what are Patient Care Reports (PCRs)?

  • The New Mexico Emergency Medical Services Tracking And Reporting System (NMEMSTARS) collects data from Emergency Medical Service (EMS) ambulance and rescue agencies for every call for service.
    This data is documented in a Patient Care Report (PCR) that contains information about the nature of the injury, the agency and personnel that responded to the call for service, the time of the response, care administered to the patient at the scene and on the way to the hospital, and where the patient was transported.

Why are PCRs a useful source of data on firearm injury?

  • EMS calls for service range from minor injuries to firearm fatalities and PCRs include information on the incident location, the severity of the injury, and characteristics of the patient
  • EMS data is submitted and updated daily so PCRs provide an additional near “real time” data source on the number, location, and trends in firearm injury across New Mexico
  • PCRs also provide a unique perspective on firearm injury that is independent from ED visits. More specifically,
    • PCRs include EMS calls for service that do not go to the Emergency Department (ED).
    • For example, PCRs for minor firearm injury may not result in an ED visit
    • EMS agencies transport patients to both Indian Health Service (IHS) and Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals, which is a key limitation of firearm injury ED visits (see metric #2)

How does the Department of Health (DOH) use PCR data to improve the health of New Mexicans?

  • Emergency Medical Services (EMS) data from NMEMSTARS on 911 calls for service has been used to monitor the stress and demand on local EMS and hospital systems in near real-time. Several examples include:
    • Non-fatal motor vehicle injuries to quickly identify roads/highways that can benefit from highway safety engineering interventions (i.e., speed control) to reduce traffic injuries and fatalities
    • The geographic concentration of heat injuries
    • Opiate and opioid overdose to examine the number of calls, naloxone administrations, and successful resuscitations
    • EMS calls for COVID during the pandemic to examine interfacility transports (i.e., hospital to hospital or nursing home)

In this section you will find:

What are the limitations of PCRs from NMEMSTARS?

  • Since NMEMSTARS relies on first responders [who are primarily focused on patient care] to document PCRs, NMEMSTARS data may not be documented in a timely manner.
      • The incomplete/missing data can include sociodemographic information and circumstances of the injury, which may not be documented until after the patient is transported to the hospital and/or more detailed investigations and reports are completed.
  • More severe incidents of firearm injury are less likely to be documented in NMEMSTARS since EMS focuses on transporting and treating patients with non-fatal injuries. More specifically:
      • EMS may not be dispatched for individuals with fatal firearm injuries
      • EMS are also rarely dispatched for firearm fatalities that are discovered days [or weeks] later since there is no urgent need for medical treatment for these cases
        • These cases are unlikely to be included in NMEMSTARS, but are often documented in Law Enforcement Agency records or by the Office of the Medical Examiner

Firearm Injury Patient Care Reports (PCRs) by Year in New Mexico, 2019-2022

Firearm Injury Patient Care Reports (PCRs) by Year in New Mexico, 2019-2022

Firearm injury PCRs have increased by 56% between 2019 and 2022 (from 668 in 2019 to 1044 in 2022)

Why is this important?

The number of firearm injury PCRs is a critical metric for combating gun violence that provide valuable insights to inform evidence-based policies and interventions aimed at reducing gun-related harm. By understanding the frequency and nature of firearm injuries treated by the EMS, public health officials can identify trends, hotspots, and high-risk populations. This information is essential for developing targeted prevention strategies, raising awareness, and allocating resources effectively. Moreover, it underscores the urgent need to address gun violence as a public health crisis, focusing on both the physical and psychological trauma inflicted by firearms to create safer communities and ultimately save lives.

Percent Firearm Injury Patient Care Reports (PCRs) in New Mexico by Age Group, Current Year, November 2022-October 2023

Percent Firearm Injury Patient Care Reports (PCRs) in New Mexico by Age Group, Current Year, November 2022-October 2023

New Mexico residents who are aged 18-49 are at increased risk for firearm injury PCRs relative to their percentage in the NM population

What age groups are at risk for firearm injury PCRs?

  • The grey bar is the percent (of the age group) in the New Mexico population
  • The solid purple bar is the percent (of age group) that had a firearm injury PCR
  • New Mexico residents who are aged 18-49 are at increased risk for firearm injury PCRs relative to their percentage in the NM population

Why is this important?

Examining the percentage of firearm injury PCRs by age group helps to identify vulnerable populations and age-specific patterns of firearm-related injuries, aiding in the development of targeted prevention and intervention programs. By understanding which age groups are most affected, public health officials can tailor education, outreach, and support services accordingly. Additionally, it provides insights into the underlying factors contributing to gun violence within specific age cohorts, informing policies that address not only the immediate consequences of firearm injuries but also the root causes, ultimately working toward a safer society for all age groups.

Child (age 1-17) Firearm Injury Patient Care Reports (PCRs) in New Mexico by Year, 2019-2022

Child (age 1-17) Firearm Injury Patient Care Reports (PCRs) in New Mexico by Year, 2019-2022

Child (age 1-17) firearm injury PCRs have increased by 44% between 2019 and 2022 (from 57 in 2019 to 82 in 2022)

Why is this important?

This data sheds light on the impact of firearms on our youngest and most vulnerable population, providing crucial insights into the circumstances and factors contributing to these injuries. By understanding the specific dynamics surrounding child firearm injuries, public health officials can develop targeted prevention strategies, gun safety education programs, and policies aimed at securing firearms in households with children. Such initiatives are vital for safeguarding our youth and mitigating the long-term physical and psychological consequences of childhood firearm injuries, ultimately working towards a safer environment for our children.

Child (age 1-17) Firearm Injury Patient Care Reports (PCRs) by Age Group and Sex for Current Year (Nov’22-Oct'23) vs. Previous Year (Nov’21-Oct'22)

Child (age 1-17) Firearm Injury Patient Care Reports (PCRs) by Age Group and Sex for Current Year (Nov’22-Oct'23) vs. Previous Year (Nov’21-Oct'22)

What are the key highlights from the data?

Over the past two years, firearm injury patient care reports have:

  • increased by 100% for females age 1-13 (from 4 to 8)
  • dropped by 13% for males age 1-13 (from 8 to 7)
  • dropped by 81% for females age 14-17 (from 11 to 2)
  • dropped by 8% for males age 14-17 (from 53 to 49)

Why is this important?

This data allows us to understand how different demographic groups are impacted by firearm-related incidents, identifying disparities and high-risk populations. By pinpointing where and why these injuries occur, public health officials can tailor prevention strategies, educational programs, and targeted interventions that address the specific needs of each group. Ultimately, this approach contributes to a more effective and comprehensive effort to reduce gun violence, working towards safer communities for individuals of all ages and genders.