The little-known New Mexico Crime Victim Reparation Commission, headquartered in Albuquerque, is a vital cog in the state's criminal justice system.

In recent years, staff and board members have expanded who's eligible and made it easier to compensate the applicants, most of whom cannot cover funeral costs, rent, medical bills and certain other expenses.

The rate at which people have been approved for help, on the other hand, has plummeted—down nearly 20 percentage points overall since 2014, a close analysis of data provided to SFR shows.

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