ABQ 4WARD: Various factors could lead to a life of crime | KOB 4

ABQ 4WARD: Various factors could lead to a life of crime

Patrick Hayes
Updated: January 17, 2020 10:20 PM
Created: January 17, 2020 07:48 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- Albuquerque saw a record-number of homicides in 2019.

Eighty-two people were killed—most of them shot to death.

But what’s causing the crime crisis? A UNM researcher said there’s no easy answer.

“Poverty, homelessness, mental health, substance use, socioeconomic difference-- and I think you can point to those really broadly, but we need to better understand these at a micro-level,” Dr. Paul Guerin said.

The metro crime problem has the full attention of Albuquerque Police Chief Mike Geier. He said the causes of violent crimes could vary.

“With violent crimes, it's a little different because you're talking more of the character of the person and that could be anything from their upbringing as a child, broken homes, lack of education, who they hang with, gang-related issues," Chief Geier said.

Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales said his department is helping whenever possible-- with targeted patrols within the city limits.
“We're getting solicited for phone calls constantly and we're meeting those needs by setting up those operations and tailoring those operations to those specific areas that would be considered hot spots by law enforcement," Sheriff Gonzales said.

The sheriff believes criminals have underlying problems that need to be addressed.

“Eighty-five percent of those people are either – have an addiction to drugs or alcohol,” the sheriff said. “And those are major factors. {We} got to figure out how to get these people resources or help that want it and the people that don't, hold them accountable."

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller announced in 2019 a violence intervention plan -- a partnership between APD, prosecutors, social service providers and community partners. The goal is to break the cycle of violent crime before it happens.

Guerin believes identifying effective strategies is key.

“So one of the topics in class actually looks at more of the causes of crimes, and in the class on policing, I think we're trying to figure out the effective strategies,” Guerin said. “So if we're going to try and impact crime or reduce crime – how would we do that most efficiently?"

Guerin said figuring out the reasons behind 2019’s homicides could help prevent future murders.

Many of the homicides in 2019 – like the murder of Krishauna Perez on Jan. 16 – involved domestic violence.

Other murders involved drugs. Jose Diaz, 45, was shot in his work truck near the Big-I. Police said Donald Duquette was high on meth and delusional when he pulled the trigger.

Complete strangers were also victims of gun violence. Leopoldo Jaquez, 33, was killed near UNM. Police said Jaquez was rushing to help a girl who was being choked and beaten by her teenage boyfriend, Donovin Santiago.

"I'm not sure any of us really understand those murders,” Guerin said. “So what portion of those murders are stranger on stranger, what portion of those murders know each other, what's the immediate incident preceding the murder, what weapons are used? I think if we better understood those kinds of things, murders just being one example, we could better come up with strategies to prevent them and to reduce them in the future."

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