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Home » Uncategorized » New effort maps alcohol and crime in Doña Ana County

New effort maps alcohol and crime in Doña Ana County


Coalition makes maps public of county’s alcohol outlets in relation to crimes

Monday, May 25, 2020; Las Cruces, NM: The Unified Prevention Coalition for Doña Ana County (UP!) has released a report, and accompanying maps, for county residents to explore how alcohol sales impact crime throughout the county. The “Alcohol Outlet Density Report for Las Cruces, New Mexico 2020” and instructional videos to help navigate the online maps are available in the state’s two official languages: English and Spanish.

UP! project specialist for the effort Alexis Brandt said, “The report and accompanying interactive maps available online are a good starting point for people and neighborhood groups that want to implement change in our county.”

“This project offers tools to explore the effects of alcohol, crime, and other contributing factors to community safety,” Brandt added.  The report, maps and accompanying tutorial videos on how to navigate the maps can be accessed on the UP! website:

The mapping project began three years ago when UP! was inspired by a previous study of Las Cruses’ alcohol outlets by Naomi Greene, PhD, which found a correlation with increased alcohol outlet density to violent crimes.

“There was a relationship in increased alcohol availability to violent crime that was not due to chance or coincidence…the same correlation was found in Las Cruces, this suggests the two are related,” said Greene.

UP! took the mapping project one step further with a partnership with New Mexico State University’s (NMSU) Spatial Applications and Research Center (SpARC) to map community calls to law enforcement for select crimes that usually are related to alcohol consumption like vagrancy, thefts, DWIs, harassment and domestic violence. The effort also mapped, by geo-code, the 164 businesses with mix use alcohol licenses in Las Cruces.

“One notable way we were able to build on previous efforts was to expand our alcohol outlet and crime mapping to cover areas of Doña Ana County beyond the City of Las Cruces,” said Brandt.

The Las Cruces section of the Alcohol Outlet Density and Select Crimes Map.

The project identified several ‘hot spots’ where alcohol outlet density and crime were high. UP! met with businesses and community members residing in the identified ‘hot spots’ for their input on living or working in close proximity to alcohol outlets. In the majority of these discussions one or more negative impacts related to alcohol were reported, such as litter, loud noise, and safety concerns.  

In total 206 alcohol sales outlets and 4,151 select crimes were mapped in the county using data from January 2018 to January 2019. “It was the best data to gain an idea of the types of crimes and what patterns might emerge giving us a chance to interpret and share it,” said Brandt.

The New Mexico Community Data Collaborative (NMCDC) stepped in to make the map publicly accessible. The NMCDC and UP! are programs of the Center for Health Innovation, an organization that is New Mexico’s designate Public Health Institute.

One of the volunteer coordinators of NMCDC Tom Scharmen said, “This map represents two years of hard work that is totally focused on community engagement and community decision-making, something that is often left out of the process.”

Part of that process included hosting 11 workshops throughout the region to train residents, community and public health workers on how to access and share the online maps.

To facilitate the navigation of the online maps, Oñate High School’s Health Occupation Students of America (HOSA) – Future Health Professionals club offered their input and ingenuity to advise on the video tutorials.

HOSA member and Oñate High School Junior, Stephanie Martinez said, “Our role was basically hands-on design of the tutorial videos. At first navigating the map was a little difficult but after watching the videos it was clearer. The experience educated me on how to use the website and the things that are happening in my community and city.”

“The maps are pretty interesting, and I’ve never seen anything like that or thought about the impact of alcohol on our community,” said Guadalupe “Hope” Olivo, also a HOSA member at Oñate High School, who hopes to be a nurse at a trauma center.

“The HOSA students were wonderful and a joy to work with,” Brandt said. “They had great insights into videos that we incorporated. Hopefully, they will be part of the restructuring for a youth component in the coalition, and they continue to participate!”

Brandt also noted that community input at the workshops added several resources to the map including school attendance boundaries, average alcohol expenditure by ZIP Code, and DWI crashes. 

“One really important theme we heard in southern part of the county was people crossing state and national boundaries to access alcohol so there’s more to consider beyond the scope of this project,” Brandt said of where the future might take the project.

Scharmen said the resulting maps are “a great example of how communities engage evidence of their own resources and problems to better make decisions that improve their neighborhoods.”

The alcohol density report, maps and subsequent training workshops were funded by Paso del Norte Health Foundation Shift Positive Initiative. The map of Doña Ana County alcohol outlet density and select crimes is available at:

For more information contact Alyssa Myrick at (575) 597-0024 or email or visit their website at

This news release is made available by the Unified Prevention (UP!) Coalition for Doña Ana County, a program of the Center for Health Innovation.