Patrick Hayes, The Associated Press
Updated: October 14, 2020 08:58 PM
Created: October 14, 2020 03:15 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — U.S. Attorney General William Barr says the federal government's efforts to crack down on violent crime in Albuquerque and other U.S. cities is paying dividends.
He visited New Mexico on Wednesday to provide an update on Operation Legend, which was launched earlier this year by the Trump administration in honor of a Kansas City boy who was killed in June.
Officials said Kansas City has seen a 30% reduction in violent crime. Barr noted that Albuquerque has a crime rate between three and four times the national average. However, he said the operation has been a success.
"And we take advantage of not only additional federal resources but also strong federal laws that target the most violent, chronic offenders," Barr said.
He said violent crime is solvable and the priority has to be getting chronic offenders off the streets.
Since the launch of Operation Legend, homicides continue to be a problem in Albuquerque. A person was shot and killed just hours before Wednesday's briefing.
The U.S. Attorney for New Mexico criticized Albuquerque city leaders for failing to sign all the necessary paperwork to receive $10 million in federal funding to hire more police officers.
"As a result, the city is no closer to seeing the hiring of those additional 40 officers, and I can say I'm disappointed by this continued inaction on the part of the city," said John Anderson, U.S. Attorney for the District of New Mexico.
The city claims it's still in the process of accepting the funds.
“After the grant passed City Council and was signed by the Mayor, the DOJ told APD that APD cannot submit the paperwork to the DOJ's own web portal until after October 15," said Jessica Campbell, spokesperson for the City of Albuquerque.
"Anyone claiming the city didn't accept federal funding is out of date and just plain wrong," Campbell added.
When asked about the city’s efforts to combat violent crime, APD spokesperson Gilbert Gallegos sent the following statement:
“During the same time period that federal agencies have assisted with high-profile APD cases, our officers have conducted citywide anti-crime operations resulting in more than 200 arrests. We have arrested 46 drivers of crime under the Metro 15 operation that targets drivers of violent crime in Albuquerque. Our new Gun Violence Reduction Unit has detectives who focus only on shooting incidents and efforts to prevent gun violence. We have reduced property crime, which accounts for 75-percent of all crime in Albuquerque. Those successes, combined with specific initiatives aimed at gun crimes, is starting to have an impact on overall violent crime.”
According to the Department of Justice, 113 defendants have been charged with federal crimes outlined below:
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