Looking back at crime in Albuquerque during 2023
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – New Mexicans had to give too many condolences in 2023. According to Albuquerque police, the department is ending the year with 96 homicide investigations.
Bernalillo County Sheriff’s deputies have 16 on their caseload – totaling 112 killings in the metro just for the two agencies this year.
“I think the community is tired of this, tired of the killings, and we need to work together as a community to put a stop to this,” said Alicia Otero with the New Mexico Crusader for Justice.
Otero has spoken to hundreds of heartbroken families in her role with the New Mexico Crusaders for Justice.
But the crime burden in the metro reached a new level this past summer when she had to help two families who lost young children to this crisis.
5-year-old Galilea Samaniego died after getting shot in a drive-by while she slept at her babysitter’s house near Blake and Unser. The five suspects are all teenagers.
Just weeks later, 11-year-old Froylan Villegas died as he left an Isotopes game with his family.
Police say three men shot at the family’s truck, mistakenly thinking it belonged to rival gang members.
“Even though it was a mistaken identity of the vehicles, that is still not OK. Just because it was a mistaken identity does not forgive what they’ve done to the family,” said a family friend of the Villegas.
“These individuals should have never been out in the community and a young man should have never lost his life,” said APD Chief Harold Medina.
Those back-to-back killings led Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to declare gun violence a public health emergency in the state, with some controversial consequences in the metro.
“So effective immediately no person other than a law enforcement officer or licensed security officer shall possess a firearm either openly or concealed,” said Lujan Grisham.
Now, frustrated New Mexicans will be looking at the governor and state lawmakers in just a few weeks as they head to the Roundhouse for a 30-day legislative session.
Mayor Tim Keller says — once again — crime legislation is a top priority and expectation. The city will ask for money to expand the use of the Real Time Crime Center.
APD credits the multi-million dollar tech hub with solving crimes faster, including Froylan Villegas’ murder.
“Our total ask was 10, or $20 million to integrate this for the entire metro area,” said Keller.
The Legislature convenes in two weeks.