The above link to the February 15, 2017 KOB investigative story by KOB reporter Caleb James merits extensive quotation as follows:
“In a series of recent reports, KOB has asked the Albuquerque Police Department to explain an increase in violent crime over the years. Each time, the department blames a climbing crime rate on repeat offenders being lightly sentenced and released back onto the streets.”
“On Wednesday, KOB analyzed numbers pulled straight from the department’s own annual reports. Amidst recent court rulings governing speedy trial requirements and a microscope on lenient sentencing, there’s no arguing repeat offenders are busy committing crime in the metro and across New Mexico.”
“But according to the APD’s own official statistics, officers made nearly 10,000 fewer arrests in 2015 than in 2010 when the department had hundreds of more officers. According to APD’s annual reports — available to anyone online — the department had only 832 officers in 2015. In 2010, APD was already under-staffed but holding steady with a much healthier 1,065 officers on patrol.”
“Police Chief Gorden Eden has insisted there is no correlation between staffing and crime.”
“It’s a disaster what’s happened from 2010 to 2015,” Albuquerque Police Officers Union President Shaun Willoughby said.”
“Willoughby said the department’s own numbers fly in the face of Eden’s position.
Take robbery, for instance. There were 940 cases in 2010, compared to 1,686 in 2015 — the latest official data available. Auto theft has skyrocketed. Compare 2,773 cases in 2010 to 5,179 reported, according to the department’s 2015 annual report. Total violent crime has also spiked across the board. There were 4,491 violent crime cases in 2010, according to APD, and 5,049 in 2015.”
“When KOB has asked APD about the increase in crime, they’ve pointed to the historically low inmate population at the Bernalillo County jail — arguing fewer inmates in jail equals more repeat offenders being let out and sentenced lightly.”
“But it is also true, according to the department’s statistics, officers are arresting far fewer people to begin with — nearly 10,000 fewer people than five years ago. According to the reports, officers arrested 31,176 people in 2010. In 2015, just 22,820 total arrests were made.”
(See full KOB story at http://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/albuquerque-police-department-data-increase-crime-decrease-staffing-officer-shortage-gorden-eden-union-apoa-shaun-willoughby/4401499/?cat=500 listing APD anual reports.)
ANOTHER TAKE ON THE KOB REPORT
Eden’s insistence and denial that there is no correlation between staffing and crime is a reflection of the type of ignorance in law enforcement management you get from someone who has absolutely no prior experience in managing a municipal police department and who is nothing more than a political operative way over his head.
The simple truth is, fewer cops means fewer arrests, fewer cases, fewer convictions, fewer sentencing of criminals.
For four years, I have been saying APD needs to return to community based policing and get more officers to patrol our streets.
In 2016, Albuquerque had a 20 year high in murders. Albuquerque has become one of the most violent cities in the Country. In 2015, murders in Albuquerque spiked by 53%.Since 2010, Albuquerque’s violent and property crime rates dramatically increased by 14% to 20% percent.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), in 2015 Albuquerque’s violent crime rates increased by 9.2% and property crime rates increased by 11.5%. APD officers have shot over 41 people with close to $50 million paid in police misconduct cases and excessive use of force cases.
The number of APD sworn officers has fallen from 1,100 in 2009 to 850 in 2016. Only 430 sworn officers are assigned to field services responding to 69,000 priority one 911 emergency calls a year.
Albuquerque needs 1,200 sworn police officers to effectively return to community based policing that will reduce crime. Yet all we get from a feckless city administration are excuses and finger pointing at judges and the legislature.
APD is severely understaffed and struggling to implement expansive and expensive Department of Justice (DOJ) agreed to and mandated reforms. More must be done to aggressively implement the DOJ reforms, solve the staffing shortages and address APD’s leadership crisis.
A PROPOSED SOLUTION
The City Council by ordinance can create a Department of Public Safety with an appointed civilian Police Commissioner.
The Police Commissioner would assume direct civilian oversight, management and control of APD.
A national search for a Police Commissioner and Chief of Police needs to be conducted.
A Police Commissioner and Chief with extensive and proven leadership in managing a municipal police department must be hired, not political operatives.
The civilian Police Commissioner would assume primary responsibility for implementation of all the DOJ-mandated reforms and only be removed for cause by the Mayor.
The Police Commissioner would completely overhaul and restructure APD, appoint new chiefs, commanders, lieutenants, academy director and a 911 manager and each would report directly to the Chief of Police, with the Police Commissioner in the Chain of Command as the Commissioner determines to be necessary and appropriate to carry out his or her duties.
The city needs to fund and implement a non-negotiated major hourly rate increase of up to 15% to 20% percent for sworn officers, excluding management, to improve recruitment, retention and morale.
Sign on bonuses, tuition debt payoff and mortgage down payment bonuses need to be offered to new recruits.
Yearly experienced officer retention bonuses must be made permanent.
APD needs to “triple down” on recruitment and dramatically increase the size and number of police academy classes per year.
Until aggressive action is taken with APD and the Department of Justice mandated reforms, APD will continue to spin out of control, violent crime will continue to rise and Albuquerque will continue to see dramatic spikes in crime.