Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis is leading the charge with the introduction of a city council resolution that will allow the private sector and the businesses community to partner with the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) to create specific crime plans for business areas.
Davis wants to give businesses an opportunity to band together and collaborate on crime plans with APD and create “Security Assistance Funding Zones.”
The catch is the private sector will have to pay the city and share the costs when it comes to executing those crime plans.
Those zones must include businesses (10 or more comprising of at least 51% of an area) or property owners (5 or more comprising of at least 51% of an area) that all collectively agree to work with the APD to address criminal activity in their areas.
The businesses or property owners would be required be in major parts of the city, areas with heavy tourism, or areas with other “significant importance” to the city.
If the resolution passes the City Council, property owners or business owners would collectively submit to APD tactical plans that would outline the law enforcement initiatives that would be instituted.
There is no mention of residential areas that may be suffering from high crime rates which apparently have no “significant importance” to Pat Davis.
According to Davis no plan would exceed $100,000, and the city could pay up to $50,000 for the plans.
Davis claims he has identified $300,000 to help three zones during a pilot program.
LAW ENFORCEMENT IS BASIC ESSENTIAL GOVERNMENT SERVICE
Law enforcement is a very basic essential service that is provided by city government and is paid for by virtually all taxpayers.
What Davis is saying with his plan is that if you can afford to pay more for your law enforcement protection services that you have already payed taxes for, the City will divert more law enforcement resources for protection to your area.
The Davis proposal creates and funds zones of businesses at the exclusion of residential areas.
The Davis proposal is nothing more than charging additional money taking the functions of law enforcement away from other parts of the city and giving it to those in the private sector who can afford to pay extra for it.
Attempting to reduce crime rates by giving preferential treatment to areas of the city that can pay more for law enforcement is ill advised and downright negligent on the part of Pat Davis.
Next thing you know, Pat Davis will want sworn police officers to issue invoices or bills to citizens after they take a call for service.
It is not hard at all to imagine a convenience store attendant being shot and killed during an armed robbery in a “Security Assistance Funding Zone” and APD handing the store owner an invoice the same month for services rendered in the investigation.
Even worse, the victim’s family or store owner just may decide to sue the city for APD’s negligence and breach of contract in carrying out the law enforcement initiatives that were paid for and agreed to by the business owner.
A BAD IDEA ON SO MANY LEVELS
The Davis proposal is a very bad idea on so many levels.
The City’s crime rate affects the entire city and no area should be given any preferential treatment because that area can afford to pay more for law enforcement services.
The creation of “Security Assistance Funding Zones” is a pathetic attempt to find an alternative solution to APD’s personnel crisis.
What Davis is trying to do is create “safe zones” from crime for those who can afford to pay for them.
The truth is Pat Davis is attempting to privatized APD and law enforcement functions.
The Davis plan will not address APD’s inability to perform its law enforcement function because of its personnel crisis and shortage of APD sworn personnel.
APD is funded for 1,000 sworn police officers.
Notwithstanding the funding for 1,000 positions, APD has 830 sworn police officers but only 430 sworn police are patrolling our streets.
APD response times are at historical highs with calls to APD taking hours instead of minutes to respond, endangering public safety.
The 430 sworn police officers, spread out over three shifts and six area commands, are patrolling our streets and responding to over 640,000 priority one calls a year.
APD’s response times at historical highs with calls to APD taking hours instead of minutes to respond, endangering public safety.
Albuquerque needs at least 1,200 full-time sworn police officers with 750 spread out over three shifts, patrolling our streets and neighborhoods to return to community based policing that will reduce violent and property crime rates.
A VERY BAD IDEA FOR HIS OWN CONSTITUENTS
City Councilor Pat Davis was elected to the Albuquerque City Council in October 6, 2015 to represent District 6, which encompasses the International District, Mesa Del Sol, Nob Hill, Southeast Heights, and the University of New Mexico.
The International District in the Southeast heights has some of the poorest people in the city, a large immigrant community and some of the highest crime rates in the City.
Pat Davis previously worked as a police officer for the U.S. Capitol Police, Metropolitan Police in Washington, D.C. and the University of New Mexico Police Department and at one time served as the Public Information Officer (PIO) for the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office and he should know better being a former law enforcement officer himself.
It is extremely doubtful that any of the businesses and residents in the International District can afford to pay for additional law enforcement services.
Over two years ago I recall vividly having conversations with then city council candidate Pat Davis discussing what needed to be done with APD and to bring crime rates down.
After being elected to the City Council, Davis told me there was not much he could do about APD and we needed to wait until a new Mayor was elected in two years.
Now that Davis is running for Congress, he decides that something should be done to reduce crime in Albuquerque.
ALBUQUERQUE’S CRIME PROBLEM IS CITY WIDE
Albuquerque’s crime problem and crimes rates are city wide.
Violent and property crime rates in Albuquerque are now at historical highs.
Albuquerque Police Department (APD) statistics reveal the total number of violent crimes in Albuquerque increased steadily and went from 4,291 in 2010 to 5,409 in 2015.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reports that Albuquerque has become the is fifth-most violent city in the country on a per capita basis while the nation’s violent crime rate dropped by 13.7%.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau’s latest Hot Spots report shows Albuquerque and of Bernalillo County as the worst place in the nation when it comes to auto theft per capita.
In 2016 more than 10,000 vehicles were stolen in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County or more than 27 vehicles a day.
According APD statistics, the total number of property crimes in Albuquerque has steadily increased each year during the last six (6) years going from 26,493 crimes in 2010 to 34,082 in 2015.
In 2016 according to FBI statistics Albuquerque’s violent crime spiked 15.5% and murders spiked 41.8 percent.
(See September 26, 2017 Albuquerque Journal, page A-1, “”FBI: Crime up sharply in ABQ; Murders increased 41.8% violent offenses rose 15%.”).
According to FBI data, Albuquerque had 61 murders and 6,245 violent crimes in 2016.
Property crimes increased by 13.3 and 38,528 property crimes (6,860 per 100,000 population) and 6,236 total burglaries (1,110 per 100,000 population) in 2016.
In 2016, Albuquerque’s auto thefts jumped by the highest percentage with 7,710 motor vehicle thefts an almost a 50% increase over the year before.
THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE CONSENT DECREE AND REFORMS
For the last three years, APD has been operating under a federal court order after a Department Of justice investigation found a culture of aggression within APD.
APD has been struggling to implement the mandated reforms of the federal court order.
APD has had enough problems with resisting civilian oversight.
A serious question is if the private sector starts paying for public safety zones, will they also be allowed to order how APD will respond to calls and report crimes in such a manner that would violate the consent decree mandates and constitutional policing practices mandated by the DOJ consent decree?
The Mayor and City Council need to make it a priority to increase APD’s personnel ranks with sworn police officers with an aggressive recruitment program, increased wages for rank and file and sign on bonuses rather than trying to privatize a basic municipal function.
We must demand what we pay for as taxpayers when it comes to law enforcement.
The Albuquerque City Council needs to say “thanks, but no thanks” to Councilor Pat Davis and his ill-advised and opportunistic idea to curry favor with the business community to fund “Security Assistance Zones” in “areas of special” significance.
The City Council needs to give Davis a bill for wasting their time and energy on this ill advised plan.