The New Mexico House Consumer & Public Affairs Committee has passed a bill aimed at combatting motor vehicle thefts in the state, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
Specifically, House Bill 156 is designed to crack down on criminals who run chop shops. It will provide law enforcement with the right criminal statutes to deter and prosecute thieves and help eliminate demand for stolen vehicles.
Operators of chop shops strip stolen vehicles for parts and then re-sell those parts.
In remote locales of New Mexico there are many chop shops where hundreds of stolen vehicles wind up, reports KOB-TV. Criminals run factory-like operations, dismantling them and mining them for valuable parts.
New Mexico’s auto theft problem is not new. Since 2016, Albuquerque has ranked, per capita, number one in the nation on the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s annual Hot Spots vehicle theft report. Moreover, New Mexico’s 2018 auto theft rate per capita was around double that of Arizona and Texas, the two states that border both New Mexico and Mexico.
The new bill is aimed at reversing those statistics, and the National Insurance Crime Bureau applauds the measure.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham supports the bill and has added it to her agenda, reports KOB.