Dozens of hands shot up as Mayor Richard Berry queried an audience of business and community leaders last week, "How many of you have been a victim of crime or know someone who has?" he asked. The Mayor shared findings of a recent study on crime in Albuquerque with members of the Chamber at an event held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. Peter Winograd, a retired UNM professor, conducted the research which showed a direct correlation between the declining jail population and increasing crime rates. You can see detailed slides of violent crime and property crime by zip code by clicking here.
The study, Mayor Berry said, showed no correlation between crime rates and the number of officers, despite that fact that the Albuquerque Police Department today has 848 officers, compared with 1097 in 2009. "Today may be more difficult than ever to be a police officer," he said.
Berry cited an uptick in crime nationally and said that auto thefts in the city are on the rise. Compared with cities over 100,000 people, Albuquerque ranks ninth in the country for auto thefts, many are repeat offenders. Property crime also plagues the city; Albuquerque ranks 11th nationally for this type of crime. "Most property crime offenders are stealing to support an addiction," Berry said.
After reviewing details of the study, the mayor announced a 14-point plan to combat the city's high crime rates and make sure repeat offenders are not on our streets committing the same crimes over and over again.
The plan, "ACT (Attack Crime Together) Now" outlines strategies to attack crime in the city ranging from improving data sharing between courts, local jail, and police department to increasing the number of officers by allowing a number of retired police officers to return to work under contracts through a pilot program called Community Response Specialists. Also highlighted in the plan was the need to strengthen New Mexico's crime laws. To see the ACT Now strategies, click HERE.
Following the presentation, Chief Gorden Eden joined Mayor Berry on stage for a question and answer session with the audience.
To view the study by the City of Albuquerque click here.
For a recap of our event by the Albuquerque Journal click here.
For a summary of our event by Albuquerque Business First click here.
Coverage of the event by KOAT can be viewed here.
Coverage of the event by KRQE can be watched here.