Albuquerque police chief outlines crime, strategies for 2024

Albuquerque police chief outlines crime, strategies for 2024

Attempts at revitalizing Central Avenue have had mixed results so far.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Attempts at revitalizing Central Avenue have had mixed results so far.

Albuquerque police are pointing to their stats that show crime is down this year, even though there’s the perception that crime is up.

KOB 4 talked to the chief about this on Monday.

“Homicide is down, I believe 22%. You know there’s a good, strong possibility we could come in under 100. I mean, we’re getting to pre-pandemic numbers, which is important,” said APD Chief Harold Medina. 

The homicide at a strip club overnight would mark the 95th homicide for APD this year.

It’s important to note that APD counts homicides the way the FBI wants them to. They do not count justifiable homicides, and the 95 number does not capture the 15 homicides that BCSO is investigating this year.

Medina says while fighting crime is most important, he has some plans to fight perceptions in 2024.

“I started working on this several years ago,” he said. 

Medina hears it.

“When I go to the large community gatherings, and we ask people, ‘How many of you have been a victim of crime in the last year?’ The number one is property crimes,” Medina said.  

While he says the stats show a decline in property crimes, he has plans for next year to increase perceptions of responsiveness.

“Recently, I’ve been looking to see how we’re going to address the biggest issues of each area command and what the perceptions are,” said Medina. 

The problems police want to focus on differ depending on where you live.

“I can tell you that the biggest perceived issue of public safety wise in southeast valley, southwest area commands for example, it’s the unhoused and homelessness. And for whatever reason, although they don’t see them as committing a criminal act, impacting somebody else other than, you know, possibly just some quality of life issues toward the public in general. People associate that homelessness with high crime,” said Medina.

The chief teased some changes coming in 2024.

“In January, February, and March we’re going to be piloting increasing the communications about what we’re doing with the unhoused in the southeast and the southwest,” said Medina. 

It’s a different story north of Central.

“Northeast and northwest, their biggest issue is theft and larceny,” Medina said. 

He says proactive shoplifting operations will continue into next year.

“As a police department, we need to continue to meet the needs of the community,” said Medina. 

The chief says it’s a pilot program for increasing communication, about how they interact with the homeless. It sounds like it’s still in the works. 

But Medina says it’s all about better messaging so neighbors in a specific part of town know what APD is doing operationally, and what the results are.