“The word “homicide” is neutral: it merely means the killing of one human being by another human being. Homicides may be justifiable, excusable or criminal, depending upon the circumstances of the killing and the state of mind of the killer. … A human death is a homicide if the dead person was once alive and is now dead because of the act of another human being.”
The above link contains the generally recognized definitions of justifiable homicide, excusable homicide, criminal homicide , murder, manslaughter, and voluntary manslaughter. Each state’s criminal statutes and the elements required to be proven vary in minor degrees as does the federal laws.
ABQ’s AND BERNCO’s HOMICIDES
On June 7, it was reported that multiple investigations are underway in southeast Albuquerque. According to APD, there was a deadly shooting on Columbia Drive, and a separate shooting at Bell and Arizona, which was connected to a crash on nearby Zuni Road. APD also said there were multiple injuries from a crash that left a 6-year-old child seriously injured.
On June 6, it was reported that the Albuquerque Police (APD) is investigating two homicides that occurred in the morning. According to an APD spokesman, officers were called to a motorcycle crash at the intersection of Broadway Boulevard and Coal Avenue. They found a man at the scene, who had suffered a gunshot wound. He was transported to a nearby hospital, but did not survive his injuries.
On the southwest side of the city, officers responded to a shots fired call, in the 7300 block of Blue Avena Avenue near Unser Boulevard and Arenal Road. APD officers arrived and found a man dead.
On May 29 it was reported the city suffered a second homicide in less than 12 hours and the 50th in the city this year. There were 25 killings by May 29 of last year.
As of June 6, the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) has recorded 52 homicides for the year. However, there have been more. The actual count of the number of homicides is as least 7 more within the city making the count 59 murders. The reason for the discrepancy is simple. Each law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction within the city limits counts those homicides they are investigating at the exclusion of the other agencies.
State Police numbers are NOT included in BCSO numbers nor APD numbers, with each agency reporting their own numbers separately to the FBI.
The best example is that recently it was reported that the New Mexico State Police (NMSP) are investigating a double homicide that happened in Albuquerque. NMSP said they responded after a car rolled off I-40 at Carlisle. Two bodies with gunshot wounds were inside the vehicle. The homicides are not included in the Albuquerque Police Department’s homicide count, which is 47 thus far for 2021.
NMSP said it took on the investigation because it was one of its officers that was lagged down. APD was not aware of the investigation until a week later. APD spokesperson Gilbert Gallegos had this to say:
“We typically have good communication. But in this case they (NMSP) did not communicate this investigation to APD until we reached out to them after learning from the DA that there was a case”
NMSP said local agencies are “not necessarily notified unless investigators determine there is a specific need.”
APD said it doesn’t include NMSP homicide investigations in their statistics because they follow FBI guidelines. NMSP said the incident was only the second time in five years they’ve taken on a homicide investigation in Albuquerque city limits.
APD HOMICIDE LIST FOR 2021
The Albuquerque Police Department (APD) maintains a list of dates, addresses and case numbers assigned to homicides. The list reflects homicides, or murder/nonnegligent manslaughter, in Albuquerque from January 1 through May 15 without listing the listing of 3 recent murders. The list does not include justifiable homicides or negligent murder, as defined by the FBI. The link to the list is here:
According to the list of homicides, following is the breakdown of the number of homicides for the months of January 1 to May 30 are as follows:
BERNALILLO COUNTY SHERIFFS’ OFFICE FAILED TO REPORT TO FBI
On April 8, the Albuquerque Journal published on its front page a story written by Journal staff reporter Matthew Reisen with the banner headline “BCSO has been silent about this year’s homicides.” It was reported that BCSO waited until the week of April 5 to report on the 2 homicides that occurred in the county and being investigated by the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office. Further, the BCSO waited until April to report that the December 2020 death of Francine Gonzales, 36, on the West Side was ruled a homicide after an autopsy in late March.
The link to the full report is here:
According to the Journal report, in previous years, including 2020, BCSO regularly sent out email and Twitter alerts when BCSO detectives opened a homicide investigation. BCSO usually gave details on the incident and solicited tips from the public. Until April 7, BCSO had been silent on the 2021 cases, yet increased email and Twitter notifications for warrant roundup operations and “repeat offender” arrests often criticizing the actions of courts for previously releasing the suspects.
BCSO Transparency and Public Information Coordinator Jayme Fuller explained the delay in reporting on the 2 homicides as not always told about homicides, or other incidents, until reporters ask about them and they confirm them with supervisors.
The most troubling fact in the Journal report was glossed over. Buried in the article is the statement:
“Last year, BCSO’s crime statistics were not included in the annual FBI report because the agency didn’t meet the March deadline to report them, and they couldn’t be certified in time.”
The problem is that the yearly FBI statistics are the best measure as to performance measures of BCSO. Further, Bernalillo County and BCSO rely upon those statistics to secure federal grant funding.”
ABQ REPORTS WEEKLY HOMICIDE STATISTICS
ABQReports is an online news and opinion outlet that has begun to publish “weekly” homicide updates by a retired APD Sergeant. ABQ REPORTS reported that as of June 9, 2021, Albuquerque has had 63 homicides. ABQReports includes vehicular homicides and child abuse resulting in death and those determined as “justified. ” ABQ Reports statistic of 63 includes 2 children who died in a DWI crash with their mothers, homicides that APD classified as “Justified” or self defense and at least 2 killings by APD officers. Police Officer deadly force shootings are not classified as homicides and are separate category.
The link to the May 23 ABQReports is here:
ABQ Raw is an “on line” and FACEBOOK news agency. ABQ RAW calls itself:
“the flip side of local news in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Created by and for a connected generation. Our documentaries and original video brings you an unvarnished look at some of the most important people, events, and happenings in Albuquerque, and shines a light on underreported stories. Unorthodox and at times irreverent, we get to the heart of our community and call it like we see it.”
According to ABQ Raw’s FACEBOOK page:
“ABQ RAW is a Run And Gun Web, Video Guerrilla Documentary Filmmaking/News channel created by, and for a connected generation. Our often short, raw, video clips, summary reports, documentaries, and docudramas brings you an unvarnished look at some of the people, events, and happenings in Albuquerque, New Mexico and sometimes beyond, we shine a light on often underreported stories. Unorthodox and at times irreverent, we get to the heart of our community and call it like we see it. #ABQRAW #ABQRAWClips.”
During the United States Senate Second Impeachment hearing of former President and Der Führer Donald Trump, many new videos attributed to ABQ Raw of the January 6 US Capital insurrection were offered as evidence.
On May 20, ABQ Raw published a listing of 65 homicides that have occurred in Albuquerque from January 8 to May 29 with dates, locations, gender and news source. According to ABQ Raw:
“Most cases were reported by other media outlets and the stories are posted next to the corresponding number. Some cases, as you can see were never reported to the media but we were told about them from anonymous sources. We count actual homicides and don’t depend on the city police department PR officials or other media outlets to tell us when a death should be considered a homicide.”
You can review the entire ALB Raw list of 65 homicides here:
EXPLAINING SUMMARY REPORTING SYSTEM (SRS) VS. NATIONAL INCIDENT-BASED REPORTING SYSTEM (NIBRS)
“In 2018, the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) began reporting its annual crime statistics using the Federal Bureau Of Investigation’s National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS). NIBRS is the most current national framework for reporting crime and replaces the FBI’s Uniform Crimes Reports (UCR). This change is important because, compared to UCR, NIBRS provides more comprehensive and detailed information about crimes against person, crimes against property and crimes against society occurring in law enforcement jurisdictions across the county.”
Prior to 2018, APD reported data using the Summary Reporting System (SRS), which included 8 crime categories and counted only the most serious offense during an incident. The 8 offenses were chosen because they are serious crimes, they occur with regularity in all areas of the country, and they are likely to be reported to police. In the traditional Summary Reporting System (SRS), the eight crimes, or Part I offenses are:
1. Murder and Nonnegligent Manslaughter
2. Forcible Rape
4. Aggravated Assault
7. Motor Vehicle Theft
A link providing a complete definition of each category under the SRS system is here:
Starting in January 2021, the FBI will no longer accept data in the SRS format. The FBI is requiring crimes to be counted through the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS). In NIBRS, there are 3 major reporting broad categories:
Crimes against persons
Crimes against property and
Crimes against society.
The 3 major categories are then broken down into 52 sub-categories. NIBRS counts virtually all crimes committed during an incident and for that reason alone NIMRS is far more sophisticated than the “most serious incident-based” reporting SRS reporting system.
“In the National Incident-Based Reporting System” (NIBRS), each offense reported is either a Group A or Group B offense type. There are 23 Group A offense categories, comprised of 52 Group A offenses and 10 Group B offense categories. Law enforcement agencies report Group A offenses as part of a NIBRS incident report, but they report only arrest data for Group B offenses.
Each offense collected in NIBRS belongs to one of three categories: Crimes Against Persons, Crimes Against Property, or Crimes Against Society.
Crimes Against Persons include murder, rape, and assault, and are those in which the victims are always individuals.
Crimes Against Property include robbery, bribery, and burglary, or to obtain money, property, or some other benefit.
Crimes Against Society include gambling, prostitution, and drug violations, and represent society’s prohibition against engaging in certain types of activity and are typically victimless crimes.
“In NIBRS, law enforcement agencies collect detailed data regarding individual crime incidents and arrests and submit them in separate reports using prescribed data elements and data values to describe each incident and arrest. Therefore, NIBRS involves incident-based reporting. … There are 52 data elements used in NIBRS to describe the victims, offenders, arrestees, and circumstances of crimes.”
The link to a complete guide to the NIBRS crime reporting system is here:
ALBUQUERQUE RANKS IN THE TOP 100 DANGEROUS CITIES 4 YEARS IN A ROW FROM 2017 TO 2021
Neighborhood Scout’s provides comprehensive database of real estate data.
“Neighborhood Scout uses over 600 characteristics to build a neighborhood profile for each and every neighborhood, census tract, and address, block-group in America. These include: school quality, housing costs, crime rates, income levels, the age, size and style of homes, the density of buildings, rental areas versus owner occupied, the proportion of families with children, educational attainment, languages spoken, types of careers of those living in the neighborhood, economic trends, demographic trends, crime trends and forecasts, crime risk by crime type, home price appreciation and HPA forecasts, unemployment trends, and many, many more.”
According to the webs site, since 2012, Neighborhood Scout research “[reveals the 100 most dangerous cities in America with 25,000 or more people, based on the number of violent crimes per 1,000 residents. Violent crimes include murder, rape, armed robbery, and aggravated assault. The data used for this research are the number of violent crimes reported to have occurred in each city, and the population of each city.
There are some newcomers to the list this year. Atlantic City, NJ creeps back into the list at ninety-nine with a 16% year-over-year increase in its violent crime rate. Dallas, TX, the 9th largest city in the U.S., appears on the list for the first time at number eighty-nine with a violent crime rate of 8.7 per 1,000. This is an increase of 13% compared to the previous year. Spartanburg, SC, a historic Revolutionary War city, is the newcomer with the highest violent crime rate of 12.0 per 1,000 population.
ALBUQUERQUE MAKES THE TOP 100 MOST DANGEROUS CITIES IN 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017
The city has gone from the low rank of #74 to a current rank of #21 over the last 5 years. Following is Albuquerque’s rankings in Neighborhood Scout’s for the last 5 years:
#21 Ranking Out Of 100
Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000 residents): 13.7
Chance of being a victim: 1 in 72
#23 Ranking Out Of 100
#25 Ranking Out Of 100
Albuquerque Violent Crime Rate: 13.9
Chance of being a victim: 1 in 72
#50 Ranking Out Of 100
Albuquerque’s Violent Crime Rate: 11.50
No. of Violent Crimes: 6,429
Assault: 3,859 | Robbery: 1,962 | Rape: 547 | Murder: 61
Chance of being a victim: 1 in 87
#74 Ranking Out Of 100
Albuquerque Number of Crimes
Violent Crime 7,711
Property Crime 32,338
Total Crime: 40,049
Crime Rate (per 1,000 residents)
Violent crime rate: 13.76
Property crime rate: 57.69
Total crime rate: 71.45
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
Although the NIBRS crime reporting system makes sense for law enforcement, it makes little sense to the general public. It does not allow the public to quickly identify the increases or decreases in the traditional categories of crime that the public are used to: Murder, Manslaughter, Rape, Assault and Battery, Burglary, Larceny-theft, Motor Vehicle Theft and arson. APD should consider publishing similar list of major crimes as they release for homicides. Otherwise, the public will remain in the dark.
IT’S KELLER VERSUS GONZALES
From April 17 to June 19, 2021, publicly financed candidates for Mayor must gather both 3,000 signatures from registered voters within the City and 3,779 qualifying donations of $5.00 to secure $661,309.25 in public financing.
Review of the City Clerk’s June 4 Processed Petition Signatures makes it highly likely that only incumbent Mayor Tim Keller and Sheriff Manny Gonzales will be the only two that will make the ballot, and it’s a damn shame.
There will be only two candidates for Mayor unless of course there are privately financed candidates who decide to run. Privately financed candidates for Mayor must gather the 3,000 nominating petition signatures from registered voters within the City from June 8 – August 10, 2021.
The link to the city clerks June 7 report is here
Tim Keller has been Mayor for 4 years of the 5 years where the city has ranked in the top 100 most violent cities. Sherriff Gonzales has been in office for 6 years, the entire time the city’s crime rates have spiked. The homicide statistics and accompanying headlines are the very type of headlines and statistics that should give both Mayor Tim Keller and Sheriff Manny Gonzales nightmares as they run against each other for Mayor. The statistics should mark the end of both of their political careers, but they don’t.
In 2017, Candidate Tim Keller campaigned to get elected Mayor on the platform of implementing the Department of Justice (DOJ) mandated reforms, increasing the size of APD, returning to community-based policing and promising to bring down skyrocketing crime rates. Mayor Tim Keller has tried repeatedly to take credit for crime rates being on the decline in all categories other than violent crime offenses.
Mayor Tim Keller repeatedly proclaims that the city’s violent crime rates are in fact a national trend, that his programs to fight violent crime are working, yet the city’s crimes rates have increased each year during his term. This coming from a mayor who campaigned and got elected on the platform to bring down the city’s crime rates.
Gonzales proclaims he can do a better job than Keller and with his tough on crime policies will turn things around. Gonzales also is now making the City’s Homeless crisis a priority, yet he has done absolutely nothing for 6 years to address the homeless crisis other than having his deputies break up homeless encampments.
Gonzales forgets he has been Sheriff longer than Keller has been Mayor and the County’s crime rates are just as bad. For 5 years, Sheriff Gonzales did next to nothing in helping APD bring down violent crime rates saying crime in the city was not in his jurisdiction as a Bernalillo County Sheriff, that is until he decided to run for Mayor. Gonzales proclaimed that businesses and residents in the South East Heights, which has often been referred to as the War Zone, contacted Gonzales and he decided to do law enforcement sweeps in the are and hold press conferences about his success no doubt to garner favor with voters and make Keller and the APD Chief look bad. It’s called political opportunism at its worst.
CHALLENGES WE FACE
The city is facing any number of problems that are bringing it to its knees. Those problems include the coronavirus pandemic, business closures, high unemployment rates, exceptionally high violent crime and murder rates, continuing mismanagement of the Albuquerque Police Department, failed implementation of the Department of Justice reforms after a full six years and millions spent, declining revenues and gross receipts tax, high unemployment rates, increasing homeless numbers, lack of mental health programs and little economic development.
The city cannot afford another mayor who makes promises and offers only eternal hope for better times that result in broken campaign promises. What is needed is a mayor who actually knows what they are doing, who will make the hard decisions without an eye on the next election, not make decisions only to placate their base and please only those who voted for them. What’s needed is a healthy debate on solutions and new ideas to solve our mutual problems, a debate that can happen only with a contested election. A highly contested race for mayor will reveal solutions to our problems. With Keller and Gonzales, we are faced with voting for the lesser of two evils, or not voting.
There is still time for other candidates to run as privately financed candidates and raise private campaign donations. Privately Finance Candidates for Mayor must also gather 3,000 signatures from registered voters within the City. The time for privately financed candidates for Mayor to collect signatures is from June 8 to August 10, 2021.
Anyone one interested in running for Mayor and who has a real love for this city and is concerned about what is happening is encouraged to contact the City Clerk’s office.
The link to the city web site for candidates is here: