Mayor Tim Keller updates public on progress to end rape kit backlog | KOB 4
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Mayor Tim Keller updates public on progress to end rape kit backlog

Megan Abundis/Robert Salas
December 16, 2018 10:09 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Mayor Tim Keller updated the public on continuing efforts to end the backlog of sexual assault evidence kits or “rape kits” Saturday morning.

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Mayor Keller announced that half of Albuquerque’s rape kit backlog has been submitted for testing in the last year and the city is on track to completely clear the backlog by the end of 2020.

Mayor Keller said the city’s backlog of untested rape kits includes many children’s kits, dating back to the 1980s.

Rape kit backlogs are common across the nation and were present in New Mexico at both the state crime lab in Santa Fe and APD. Mayor Keller first shined a light on the statewide rape kit backlog in 2016 as State Auditor when he released the first-ever audit of untested rape kits at law enforcement agencies and crime labs in New Mexico.

“Working to end the backlog over the past years has made a couple of things crystal clear. We owe it to each and every survivor to test the rape kit backlog. Eliminating the backlog is also a critical step to fighting and solving crimes and making the public safer," Keller said. "The hit rate we’re seeing from clearing Albuquerque’s backlog proves that taking sexual assault seriously is key to getting the worst kinds of offenders behind bars. Make no mistake, ending the backlog everywhere is a matter of public safety.”  

The city said they will be asking for $650,000 in January from the legislature. That money would go towards reducing rape kit processing time and upgraded equipment.

APD announced changes in the department to staff up the Sex Crimes Unit and better support survivors through the often traumatic process of reporting, investigating and prosecuting sexual assault. The city has created two new detective sex crimes unit positions to assist in active sexual assault cases.

“While we are making progress, there’s still a long road ahead to clear the backlog, work the cases that result from the testing, and take sexual assault seriously as a society,” said Chief Administrative Officer Sarita Nair. “We will continue to prioritize the resources we have and to seek grants and help from the legislature in January. Our aim is to better support survivors by working with our partners on resources at each stage.” 

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Megan Abundis/Robert Salas

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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