As of November 7, the city has had its 101 homicides, an all-time record for a year and with 7 weeks remaining in 2021. The city is now just shy of a rate of 18 per 100,000. In 1996, the city had the lowest per capita rate of homicides at 16.6 per 100,000, but it was the city’s growing population that kept Albuquerque below its highest homicide rate in 1996 when there were 100,000 fewer residents.
Of the 101 cases, a staggering 98 are being investigated by the Albuquerque Police Department (APD). APD’s homicide unit has 11 detectives and one sergeant. Three of the cases, including a double homicide, is being investigated by New Mexico State Police. There has been an arrest or charges filed in 30 of the cases, which translates into a 29% clearance rate.
MEDINA’S RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE PUBLIC
On Monday, November 8, APD Chief Harold Medina held a remarkable press conference to discuss the 101 homicides for the year. Medina said APD is undertaking many initiatives and programs to bring down homicides but many of the initiatives take time. According to Medina, APD is seeing high numbers of homicides related to parties, motels and road rage. Medina’s advice to the public to help stop the spike in homicides was simplistic:
1. He urged members of the public to take steps to protect themselves by not posting on social media if they’re having a party so uninvited guests don’t show up and start fights.
2. Not to honk at people who cut them off so as not to provoke a road rage incident
3. Not to frequent certain motels in the middle of the night to buy or sell drugs.
The link to reported source material is here:
MEDINA IN HIS OWN WORDS
APD Chief Harold Medina had this to say on November 8:
“We’re at one of those points where we have to be honest, and truthful in our assessment of situations. … We have to give the community the information that we know, so that they know, to make the best educated choices. I don’t want citizens in the city of Albuquerque to live in fear. I want them to live their lives and I want them to know what’s truly occurring, and what the trends are we’re seeing. So it’s not about blaming victims; it’s about educating the rest of the community.”
It’s peaks and valleys, there’s times that, you know, things are going in a really good direction for us you feel good. … And then there’s times that, you know, you’re waking up early to see if that alert is out there that we had a homicide from the previous night. … We’re going through one of those valleys right now, and hopefully we can get up on a peak and then we could look down and see that things are getting better. But right now … we’re in a canyon, and it’s really dark.”
During the November 9 press conference, Medina said APD has been working with motels owners to come up with a comprehensive plan to bring in new technology such as license plate readers to identify stolen vehicles. Medina said:
“[Motel and business owners must take] some ownership for their property and what’s going on there, and they need to safeguard the community and work with us. … It’s just unfortunate that there’s always a lag time between we start seeing results of who we’re working with somebody … it’s not like the next day they’re going to have the funding [to get new security and video technology up and running.]
We’ve seen some of the video of how, you know, literally we have a standoff at doorways and individuals pointing firearms at each other … And that’s one of the biggest trends we’re seeing is just the sense of individuals going and they feel they have this entitlement to enter any home they want. It’s a lack of respect for all the other people in the community.”
In the fall of 2019, the Albuquerque City Council allocated $280,000 to APD to pay “overtime” for “party intervention team” to combat nighttime underage drinking, drug use and party violence. When the pandemic hit in 2020, underage parties declined dramatically. Medina now claims because pandemic restrictions are subsiding, parties and associated violence are surging again but the parties involved older people and not underage drinking and drug use.
“If this continues, then we’ll devote the resources to it at a sooner time. We’ll just see how it pans out. I mean, many times we’ve seen this; we have a rash.”
The link to quoted source material is here:
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
Now that Mayor Tim Keller has won a second four-year term, APD Chief Harold Medina ostensibly feels he is very secured to have a job for 4 more years. He now feels safe to hold press conferences with subordinates on his own. The appointment of Harold Medina as permanent Chief by Mayor Tim Keller was so very wrong on so many levels, and that fact did not change after Keller was elected to another 4 years.
In 2017, Medina returned to APD after he retired. During the last 4 years, Medina has been a Deputy Chief of Field Services, then First Assistant Chief and now Chief all during Keller’s term in office. All 4 of the programs announced by Keller to combat violent crime have been around now for almost a full 3 years and they have failed to bring violent crime and murders down. Medina has worked on all 4 programs and also is working on implementing the DOJ reforms. Implementation of the DOJ reforms has now stalled with Medina blaming the consent decree for his departments inability to fight crime.
APD Chief Harold Medina has always represented the total opposite of what the city needs in a police chief. It is very critical to have a police chief with experience with reducing use of force, not one who has used deadly force. A chief who has knowledge of crisis management, not one who causes a crisis. A Chief who understands the importance of protecting civil rights, not one who has violated civil rights, and a Chief able to tackle the issue of a police department interacting with the mentally ill, not one who has been involved with the killing of two mentally ill people, one a 14 year old having a psychotic episode and the other a 26 year old veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Medina has once again shown he possesses none of the desired traits the city needs now. .
We now have a police Chief who tells the public do not post a party on FACEBOOK, do not honk at people that may result in road rage, and do not to buy or sell your drugs at motels in the middle of the night. Exactly what the hell was Medina thinking and what was Medina saying when he said:
“I mean, many times we’ve seen this; we have a rash.”
APD Chief Medina’s “rash” of homicides is more like a terminal crime cancer that Medina has been unable to deal with for the past 4 years working for Mayor Tim Keller.
Simply put, APD Chief Harold Medina’s November 8 press conference, what he said and his recommendations to the public are an embarrassment not only to himself but the department he heads and to Mayor Tim Keller. His comments are a reflection of a person way over his head and of failed leadership.