Law enforcement leaders develop checklist to tackle crime in the metro

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The violent crime crisis in the Albuquerque community is a growing issue. Tuesday, local leaders admitted they have not been providing enough protection and resources to keep people safe.

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller said it is time for change, but the city cannot do it alone. So more than 20 departments statewide developed a checklist. Each item is an outcome of the Albuquerque Metro Crime Initiative. Officials said they hope these items will bring safety and security back to the metro.

"This work is a reflection of each of us believing that violent crime is unacceptable,” Mayor Keller said. “We are all sick of it, no matter what piece of the criminal justice system we are in, and we’re also tired of the dead ends, and I think we’re also tired of the one-off efforts by all of our agencies.”

Those agencies from all over New Mexico say the first step in successfully addressing violent crime is to recognize where they’ve gone wrong.

"We have to do better because we are failing, everybody’s failing, APD is failing, everybody, we’re failing. We have a murder rate that is through the roof. We are failing,” said Albuquerque Police Sgt. Sean Kenny. He was one of four officers injured in a public police shootout last month.

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas said, "right now we can’t even keep track of children who are committing absenteeism and exposed to violence at an unheard-of rate. Today, we can literally google reviews of restaurants, easier than we can track children in our public education system." He went on to say, “the entire justice system has to look at each other with a renewed purpose of saving lives."

With that objective in mind, officials from multiple state-wide organizations introduced a living list of 40 action items, to hopefully lower metro crime quickly and efficiently; also to hold each other accountable. "The key measure is did we make a difference,” Mayor Keller said. “Did we change what we’re doing today on these 40 issues so that it is better tomorrow?"

Each item was placed into six categories: fighting crime, reducing gun violence, and closing the revolving door, by clearing court backlogs and protecting victims from repeated offenses; also rebuilding our behavioral health system, strengthening diversion and expanding violence intervention programs.

"This is really an out-of-the-box strategy because the mayor has really brought us together to say, not only are we going to look at our own accountability among agencies, but the response must proportionately match the crisis,” Attorney General Balderas said.

The mayor said leaders will line up initiatives, bills and ordinances against each action item on the list, to make sure they get checked off. He also said there is no set timeline to complete these items. That will be up to each individual agency, but the city will hold check-ins on policy and implementation.