ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Authorities say criminals are using stolen cars while committing a host of other crimes ranging from armed robberies to drive-by gang shootings in Albuquerque.

Police used to view auto theft as a nonviolent crime often connected to the need for money to buy drugs.

Now, crime rates have skyrocketed across the board.

The Albuquerque Journal reports the city has seen more than a three-fold increase in auto theft since 2013 along with climbing rates of armed robbery, larceny and burglary.

There were 2,743 auto thefts in 2013. Last year, it was 7,684 and in 2016, 7,710 vehicles were stolen.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau ranked the Albuquerque metro area as having the highest per-capita rate of auto thefts in the country in 2016, with 1,114 vehicle thefts per 100,000 people.

Information from: Albuquerque Journal,

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