KOB Web Staff
Updated: January 02, 2020 12:31 PM
Created: December 09, 2019 10:59 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— Albuquerque broke its record for most homicides in one year Sunday night—bringing the count to 74 victims. The previous record was 72 in 2017.
KOB 4 reached out to Mayor Tim Keller to address the record, but was initially declined. Instead, he provided the following statement:
"Violent crime is our community’s biggest challenge and tackling it is our top priority. We are working to climb out of the hole and rebuild a depleted police department. Our first 100 new officers are just hitting the streets and we are on target to bring in 100 next year. In the meantime, we are doing everything we can to modernize our systems, bring offenders to justice, and to interrupt these cycles of violence. It takes all of our partners in law enforcement at every level working together to stem the tide of violence.”
Mayor Keller later agreed to an in-person interview with KOB 4, citing addiction and domestic violence as priorities to go after.
“We know that most violent crimes are at the connection of domestic violence and addiction and a weapon, so I do think this is an area where that particular segment of the population that is involved in those activities is where it is very dangerous, but that's very different than, you know, something this just all over town,” Keller said. “For that, at least we know where to attack it and that provides us with a path forward.
Mayor Keller also mentioned the lack of department resources and inadequate technology also play a role in the rising number of homicides.
“We’re climbing out of the hole from 10 years,” Mayor Keller said.
KOB 4 took Keller’s original statement to community members to get their reactions, starting with APD Chief of Police Mike Geier.
We were told Geier was not available for an interview, so APD referred KOB 4 to Commander of Criminal Investigations, Joe Burke.
Commander Burke said APD needs a narrower focus, more resources and modern technology. He said they plan to restructure the homicide unit.
“For the average person, we are going to be on the streets, we are going to utilize undercover officers, utilize traffic stops, utilize problem response teams, and our community policing initiatives,” he said.
Burke said they need help from the public to be good witnesses and report suspicious activities.
Albuquerque City Council President Klarissa Peña said with three weeks left in the year, she can’t guarantee there won’t be another homicide, but did offer her own alternative solutions.
"We can do some PSA's, public service announcements and a bunch of things about domestic violence hotlines, about road rage, about some of the illegal activities and ensuring that people in the community make calls when they see any kind of criminal activity,” Peña said.
Other community members said they were not buying Keller’s statement.
“I’m not sure what to take away from it honestly. Yeah, it’s a little biased I believe. I’m not sure what to think of that,” said Stephen Baker Glover.
Some said they don’t expect city leaders to act on the crime crisis.
“I expect them to do a horrible job, and for them to be completely ineffective in anything that they set out to do based on their track record,” said Brian Stinar.
APD Chief of Police Mike Geier sent KOB 4 the following statement about the record and how they plan to tackle crime:
“Last night’s murder follows troubling trends involving gun violence, addiction and disputes turned deadly. That’s why we are aggressively targeting violent criminals, especially convicted felons who continue to use guns to commit additional crimes. We are tracking them down, and we will use every tool we have to keep them behind bars.”
To see Mayor Keller’s full interview, click the video above.
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