Created: January 11, 2021 08:42 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. —The Albuquerque Police Department said they saw a decrease in homicides in 2020 compared to the previous year, but APD investigators said that number is still far too high.
With the help of new initiatives and new leadership, APD said they hope to see homicides decrease even more in 2021.
“It's reasonable. We're really shooting for that. We need to get these guns off the streets and arrest these guys and keep them behind bars,” said Gilbert Gallegos, an APD spokesperson.
Gallegos said 2020 ended with 76 homicides, which was four less than the record set in 2019. About half of those cases have been solved. Gallegos said APD’s new initiatives have helped increase the homicide clearance rate.
"We have our gun violence reduction unit, we have our street crimes unit, we now have the VIP program that's shown to be very effective on the intervention side. So, we really need to tackle this from every angle,” he said.
APD enters the 2021 with new interim police chief Harold Medina, who has added resources to the homicide investigation unit. Medina also said he’ll take a more proactive role in crime fighting.
"In August, was at least a flattening out of the number of shootings, and our hope right now is if we continue doing that in the coming months, that will lead to fewer homicides and fewer violent crime across the board,” Gallegos said.
Three homicides have occurred in 2021 so far. APD said the homicide that happened over the weekend was related to a domestic violence incident.
"Unfortunately, the offender in that case seemed to have a history of domestic violence with his victim, who was his girlfriend. And we know that oftentimes, especially if there's a gun involved, or alcohol, or anything else, you can—that can lead to something like a homicide,” Gallegos said. “So, we got to keep focusing on that: gangs, narcotics and domestic violence and guns are the main nexus that applies to a lot of these homicides."
Gallegos said the continued effort to hire more officers to meet the mayor’s goal of 400 additional cops in four years will also help turn around the city’s crime crisis.
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