N.M. Security Company Upsets Police Dept. with Inflated Crime Stats

New Mexico police department says Alpha Alarm billboard exaggerates property crimes, makes the P.D. look bad.

Stephen Sellner, Security Sales

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — An alarm company here is facing some heat for a misleading advertisement it put on a billboard.

Alpha Alarm’s billboard on I-25 states, “85 BREAK-INS TODAY IN ABQ.” That number has raised skepticism from the Albuquerque Police Department (APD).

In fact, the 85 number is inaccurate. KRQE News 13 reports the average number pulled from 2014 statistics is 16, showing quite a discrepancy when compared to Alpha Alarm’s marketing pitch.

It doesn’t take a genius to see why an alarm company would benefit from stretching the numbers a tad. But Alpha Alarm didn’t get the 85 figure out of nowhere; it comes from the number of property crimes committed in 2014. Property crimes include burglaries, shoplifting, larceny and motor vehicle theft, not only breaking and entering, as the message tries to state. There were more than 31,000 of these crimes reported in 2014 in Albuquerque, which averages out to … 85.

“With all the hard work that our men and women do every single day, including our burglary detectives, in order to try to curb these types of crimes, it’s a little disheartening that they’re grossly inflating these numbers in order to sell alarm systems,” says Tanner Tixier, an officer and spokesman for the APD.

Alpha Alarm issued a statement in response to the billboard issue, saying it used statistics from NeighborhoodScout.com and did not mean to shed “a bad light” on Albuquerque.

“The owners of Alpha Alarm wanted to create a message that would remind citizens of the importance of protecting their homes, businesses and families, by either having an alarm or by taking basic safety and security measures,” the statement read.