Bill to create violence intervention program fund passes House committee

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque police are investigating nine homicides so far this year after handling a record number of cases last year.

On Thursday, the House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee passed House Bill 96 by a vote of 3-2, along party lines, that would add millions in funding for violence intervention programs across New Mexico. It’s a bill Albuquerque city leaders are pushing for.

Localities, including tribes, would be able to apply for funding. Many people spoke in favor of this bill, including gun violence prevention groups, criminal justice reform advocates and defense attorneys.

The programs use members of the community to intervene with people are at a high risk of violence. In Albuquerque, city leaders said they want $2 million to expand their program, which they started during the pandemic. They said it’s been successful on a small scale – but there are just two caseworkers, and program leaders want dozens of workers.

In 2020, 4 Investigator Chris Ramirez took a closer look at programs like this, which focus on the small number of people disproportionately driving violent crime, showing that these strategies are strongly supported by crime experts.

Track HB 96 during the legislative session.