ABQ Citizen Perception Survey: 70% Feel City Doing Poor Job With Homeless; 52% Concerned Over City’s Direction; Measly 32% Feel City Responsive To Needs; Only 57% Feel Safe In Own Homes At Night; A Low 38% Feel APD Responding To Emergencies; 41% feel DOJ Reforms Have Had No Impact On APD

The City has released the City of Albuquerque Citizen Perception Survey dated August 2022. Each year, the City of Albuquerque commissions a survey to assess residents’ satisfaction with various City services and issues relating to crime, homelessness, and public safety.  During the last 3 years, the City’s response to the Corona Virus has been included. The study is required by City ordinance.  The link to the full survey is here:


As has been the case for a number of years, the survey was conducted by Research and Polling which for decades has been considered the gold standard in New Mexico polling because of its consistent accuracy. A random sample of sample of 400 adult Albuquerque residents was interviewed by telephone by Research and Polling. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9% points.

This blog article is a deep dive review of the Citizen Perception Survey.  The major categories covered by the survey are:

Quality of Life

Personal Safety

Albuquerque Police Department

City Services


Covid Response

The edited summary results of the survey are as follows:


“… When residents were asked, in an unaided, open-ended manner, what they believe are the things that make Albuquerque special, the most common responses include [the following]”:

“Weather or climate:  31%

The culture:  26%

The diverse population:  18%

Friendly people:  15%

The Sandia Mountains: 15%

The food/cuisine:  13%

When asked unaided what values are most important to Albuquerque, residents responded as follows:

23% of survey respondents mention family

17% cited safety/security

12% cited pride in community and culture/preserving culture are each mentioned

11% cited diversity.

17% of residents did not offer a response.

Residents rated the quality of life in Albuquerque as follows:

48% of residents rate the quality of life in Albuquerque as being either good at 42% or excellent at 6%.  30% give a fair rating.

17% of residents feel the quality of life in Albuquerque is either poor at 12% or very poor at 5%.

Fewer than half the respondents, 48%, rate the city’s quality of life as “excellent” or “good,” down from 59% in 2020. Though “good” remains the most common rating at 42%, 17% rated it as “poor” or “very poor. The percentage of residents who rate the quality of life in Albuquerque as being either good or excellent has fallen from 54% in 2018, and 59% during the height of the pandemic in 2020 to 48% currently.

The survey results revealed that over half those surveyed, 52%, say they are concerned about the city’s direction. This compares to 43% who say they are hopeful. In the December 2020 survey, 50% said they were hopeful.  The percentage of residents who say they are hopeful about the direction of the City has fallen from 50% in December of 2020 to 43% in 2022.

Although 43% of residents say they are either somewhat hopeful with 34% or very hopeful with 9% about the direction of the City, just over % say they are either somewhat concerned at 30% or very concerned at 22%.

Anglo residents with 58% are more apt than Hispanics with 44% to rate the quality of life in Albuquerque as being either good or excellent.

It is not surprising that many residents are concerned about the direction of the City given the challenges currently being faced across the nation.

The survey noted that residents across the nation have concerns about where the country is heading as a whole.   [An example is] the website RealClear Politics calculates the average of different polls conducted among voters and adults across the nation and currently shows that an average of 74% believe the country is currently off on the wrong track, while an average of just 18% feel the country is heading in the right direction.


Crime and feelings of personal safety are important components to perceived quality of life.  Overall, 81% of Albuquerque residents say they feel in their neighborhood during the day.  (Very Safe at  51%  + somewhat at 30% = 81%)   However, the 81%  drops to 57%  felling safe at night. (Very safe at  24%  +  somewhat safe at 33%  =  57%.) In other words, there is a day and night different of  24%.   The gap has narrowed from  2020, when 68% reported feeling safe in their neighborhoods at night and only 24% said they felt unsafe


“Residents were asked to rate how strongly they either agree or disagree with several statements relating to the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) using a 5-point scale where 5 is strongly agree and 1 is strongly disagree.  [The results of the survey were]:

53% of residents agree APD is respectful in its treatment of citizens as indicated by a score of 4 or 5.  This is up from 48% two years ago. That is down from 49% in 2019 and the lowest number for any survey going back to at least 2011.  20% strongly agreed compared to 15% who disagree, with a score of 1 or 2.

29% have neutral or mixed feelings about APD with a score of 3.

47% of residents agree APD reflects the values of the City’s residents, with 18% disagreeing and 30% have a neutral opinion of APD and 27% disagree.”


According to the citizen’ survey, 38% of residents agree APD is doing a good job of addressing public safety issues and making quick responses to emergencies, while 30% have a neutral opinion and 27% disagree.  The 38% can only be considered very low in making quick responses to emergencies.”

The survey results on APD emergency response times is no surprise. There have been news investigative reports on APD’s response times for Priority 1 calls. Priority 1 calls include shootings, stabbings, armed robberies, sexual and aggravated assaults, domestic violence with weapons involved and home invasions.  According to the data, the time it takes officers to get to a crime scene stayed relatively consistent between January 2018 to May 2021 and was roughly between 9 and 12 minutes. In 2020, it was reported that there was a 93% increase in APD response time over a 9-year period. In 2018, clearing a scene ranged from an hour to an hour and 12 minutes. Fast forward to 2021 and APD was averaging more than 2 hours to write reports, gather evidence and interview witnesses, a full hour longer than three years ago.





Since November 14, 2014, the City and the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) have been under a federal Court Approved Settlement Agreement with the appointment of a federal monitor after the Department of Justice (DOJ) found that APD engaged in a pattern of excessive force and deadly force. The DOJ found that engrained within APD was a “culture of aggression.” The City entered into a consent decree mandating 271 reforms which has resulted in  the city spending millions a year to implement the reforms and to train APD in constitutional policing practices.

In the the Citizen Perception Survey, residents were informed that the US Department of Justice has overseen a police reform program at APD.  They were  asked if they feel this has had a positive impact, negative impact, or no impact on the City of Albuquerque.  The results of the survey on APD were surprisingly as follows:

24% said they felt the reforms have had a positive impact on APD

14% said they felt the reforms have had a negative impact on APD

41% said they felt the reforms have had no impact on the on APD

20% said they did not have an opinion


The percentage of residents who feel Albuquerque City Government is responsive to community needs has dropped from 48% observed in 2020, which was an all-time high dating back to 2011, to 32% a 17% drop.

Specifically, 32% agree Albuquerque City Government is responsive to community needs, 38% have a neutral opinion, 28% disagree that City Government is responsive.

These results are similar to those observed in previous studies dating back to 2011 with the exception of the 2020 study which saw a big spike in positive reviews. The 2020 results may have been an anomaly given that so much attention was being given to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated shutdowns coupled with the fact that the majority of residents give City Government high marks for the City’s response to COVID.

Residents were asked to rate how well Albuquerque City Government is handling specific issues using a five-point scale where five is excellent and one is very poor.

47% give City Government positive marks with a score of 4 or 5 when it comes to maintaining city parks and open space areas.

34% give positive ratings supporting renewable and clean energy programs.

34% give positive ratings for maintaining roads and streets

32% give positive ratings for supporting the local economy


“The issue of homelessness continues to be a major challenge in Albuquerque as it is in many other cities.

70% feel the City is doing a poor job of addressing homelessness

9% of residents give City Government positive marks for addressing the homelessness issue

20% give a mixed or neutral rating.

The percentage of residents who give the City positive scores for addressing homelessness had risen from 13% in 2019 to 29% in 2020 but it has now fallen by 20% and is  9% currently.

Although there has been a lot of attention focused on homelessness in the news, % of Albuquerque residents say they are aware the city is the Gateway Center.  The shelter will be a 24/7 shelter providing to women experiencing homelessness during the first phase of its operation.”


59% of City residents believe relations between different cultures and racial backgrounds are either excellent, 10%, or good, 49%, while 31% say relations are fair. Only 7% of residents feel relations between people of different cultures and racial backgrounds in Albuquerque are poor. Demographically, 66% of Anglos are slightly more likely than Hispanics at 53% to rate relations as excellent or good.


As mentioned above, most Albuquerque residents feel City Government has done a good job responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, when asked to rate how well Albuquerque City Government has handled the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, three-in-five residents surveyed give positive scores (26% give an excellent rating). In comparison, 20% are critical of the way the pandemic has been handled by City Government, while 16% give a neutral or mixed rating. Overall, the percentage of residents who give City Government positive reviews for the way it has handled the pandemic has improved slightly from 54% in December of 2020, to 60% currently.


There are 5 major areas of concern that have been red flagged by the 2022 Citizen Perception Survey that must be very disturbing to Mayor Tim Keller and his Administration.  Those areas of concern are

  1. People do not feel safe in their own homes
  2. The Homeless crisis
  3. Dissatisfaction with city’s response to community needs
  4. Direction the city is going
  5. APD Police reforms have accomplished little


One of the most disturbing statistics from the Citizen’s Survey is that only 57% of those surveyed felt safe at night in their own homes.  It likely that 57% is on the very low side. At the core of citizens do not feel safe in their homes at night is the City’s high violent crime and homicide rates.

A recent Journal poll found that 82% of the public feel that crime is very serious, 14% said crime is somewhat serious for a staggering total of 96%.  Albuquerque has seen a major spike in violent crime and the rates are some of the highest in the country.

In the last 3 years, Albuquerque has had a breaking number of homicides each year.  In 2021 the city had 117 homicides.  As of August 30, APD reports that there have been 88 homicides, with the city well on it way to breaking the 2021 all time record.

apd-homicide-list-for-web-site-as-of-02sep2022.pdf (cabq.gov)



The Citizens Survey of 70% feeling the city is failing in its response to the homeless is likely inaccurate and the public attitude has only gotten worse. A recent Journal poll found that 77% of the general public believes the homeless crisis is very serious and 16% feel it is somewhat serious with a staggering total of 93%.

What is clear from the Citizen Perception Survey is that Albuquerque residents are dissatisfied with the Keller Administration’s response to the homelessness crisis despite the city’s huge financial commitment to dealing with the homeless.   The survey confirms that residents feel Mayor Tim Keller and his admiration are failing.

70% of citizens survey respondents rate the city poorly for its performance in dealing with the homeless crisis.  This includes 41% who gave city hall the lowest possible rating.  Meanwhile, only 9% gave the city’s homelessness response a favorable review. In other words, 7 times more people rate the city poorly on the issue than offer a positive assessment.

This is a dramatic change from 2020 when only 36% gave the city poor marks for how it was tackling homelessness, including just 22% who offered the worst rating, while 29% provided a positive assessment.  There has been a dramatic 20% drop in how people feel the city is dealing with homeless from 29% in 2020 to 9% in 2022.

The 9% approval rating in the citizens survey   should be very alarming to Mayor Tim Keller and his administration.  Since day one from becoming Mayor on December 1, 2018, Mayor Keller has made dealing with the homeless a major cornerstone of his administration so much so that he advocated the construction of a 24-7 homeless shelter.  This ultimately resulted in the purchase of the massive 560, 000 square foot Gibson Medical center, formerly the Lovelace Hospital, for $15 million. The facility is being renovated and it is anticipated to open in the winter of 2022 as a 24/7 shelter.

The Keller Administration has adopted a housing first policy when it comes to dealing with the homeless crisis which also includes funding provided to at least 10 service providers. This past fiscal year 2021 ending June 10, 2021, the Family and Community Services Department and the Keller Administration have spent upwards of $40 Million to benefit the homeless or near homeless. The 2021 adopted city budget for Family and Community Services Department provides for mental health contracts totaling $4,329,452, and substance abuse contracts for counseling contracts totaling $2,586,302 and emergency shelter contracts totaling $5,688,094, affordable housing and community contracts totaling $22,531,752, homeless support services contracts.

Mayor Keller’s 2022-2023 approved budget significantly increases the Family and Community Services budget by $24,353,064 to assist the homeless or near homeless by going from $35,145,851 to $59,498,915. A breakdown of the amounts to help the homeless and those in need of housing assistance contained in the 2022-2023 budget is as follows:

$3,773,860 total for mental health contracts (Budget page105.)

$2,818,356 total substance abuse contracts for counseling (Budget page 106.), up by $288,680 from last year.

$42,598,361 total for affordable housing and community contracts with a major emphasis on permanent housing for chronically homeless.

$6,025,544 total for emergency shelter contracts (Budget page 102.).

$4,282,794 total homeless support services, up $658,581 from last year.

The links  to the adopted 2021-2022 and 2022-23 approved budgets are here:



Mayor Keller for his part defended the poor survey results regarding the homeless and said this:

“[The survey] validates and gives a mandate to what we’re doing. … I hope that other policymakers hear that and support us, whether it’s the state Legislature or City Council. … This is how people feel and we’re coming at it with a lot of things. And what we need is for people to help make those real, so that those (survey) numbers will change.”

Mayor Keller has said that his Administration has adopted an “all the above” approach with dealing with the homeless crisis. It laughable that Keller would say the survey “validates and gives a mandate to what where’re doing”.  It’s difficult to know if Keller actually believes the rhetoric he tells the media. It is clear that Keller’s “all the above approach” is simply not working and he has very little to show for with the millions already spent. What is needed is a more targeted, surgical approach, to address the mentally ill and those suffering from substance abuse.

The link to the quoted news source is here:



The percentage of residents who feel Albuquerque City Government is responsive to community needs has dropped from 48% observed in 2020, which was an all-time high dating back to 2011, % a disturbing 17% decline.   This is very difficult to accept, let alone understand, given that Mayor Tim Keller has submitted, and the City Council has approved in 2 consecutive years the 2  largest city budgets in its history, one for $1.1 Billion in 2021 and the other for $1.4 billion in 2022.

On May 17, 2021, the Albuquerque City Council voted unanimously to approve the 2021-2022 city budget of $1.2 billion, $711.5 million of which is the General Fund. The General Fund covers basic city services such as police protection, fire and rescue protection, the bus system, street maintenance, weekly solid waste pickup, all city park maintenance, city equipment, animal control, environmental health services, the legal department, risk management, and payroll and human resources

On May 16, 2022, the Albuquerque City Council approved the 2022-2023 city budget. The overall budget approved by the city council was for $1.4 Billion with $841.8 representing the general fund spending with an increase of $127 million, or 17.8%, over the 2021-2022 c budget of $1.2 Billion.

The link to city approved budgets is here:



Another very disturbing trend revealed by the survey is that residents show less satisfaction with current quality of life in the city and there is growing concern about Albuquerque’s future.  Although 50% of those surveyed believe Albuquerque is doing “about the same” as other cities dealing with problems and carrying out its responsibilities, the survey generally shows worsening perceptions of life in the city.

The percentage of residents who rate the quality of life in Albuquerque as being either good or excellent has fallen from 54% in 2018 to 48% in 2022.  The percentage of residents who say they are hopeful about the direction of the City has fallen from 50% in December of 2020 to 43% in 2022.

Although 43% of residents say they are either somewhat hopeful with 34% or very hopeful with 9% about the direction of the City, just over % say they are either somewhat concerned at 30% or very concerned at 22%.


A plurality, or 41%, of those surveyed said the ongoing U.S. Department of Justice-mandated reform effort within APD has had no impact, while 24% say it has been positive and 14% say it has been negative.  There is no getting around it, even with the recent news that APD has improved in compliance levels with all of the reforms, APD still has a major image problem.

Over the last 7 years, the DOJ reforms have place great emphasis on implementing constitutional policing practices, increased training and crisis intervention and implemented community policing councils and a Citizens Police Oversight agency. Despite all the efforts made, an astonishing 41% of those feel the reforms have had no impact on APD.


Mayor Tim Keller has been Mayor now for 5 years. He has won both of his elections in a land slide.   After a full 5 years in office, Mayor Keller’s bright new sheen has worn off and the second term curse has begun with Keller’s mishandling of the homeless crisis. The ultimate question is if people feel the city is better off today than they were 5 years ago since Tim Keller took office on December 1, 2017?  The likely answer is NO with the city experiencing record breaking violent crime rates and the homeless crisis only getting worse.

Mayor Keller has already said privately to more than a few that he intends run for a 3rd term as Mayor in 2025 or perhaps run for Governor in 2026. If Tim Keller does indeed have higher ambitions, he needs to do a far better job than he is doing now.  It’s not at all likely Tim Keller will be winning any more elections in a landslide given his performance as Mayor.

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Pete Dinelli was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is of Italian and Hispanic descent. He is a 1970 graduate of Del Norte High School, a 1974 graduate of Eastern New Mexico University with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and a 1977 graduate of St. Mary's School of Law, San Antonio, Texas. Pete has a 40 year history of community involvement and service as an elected and appointed official and as a practicing attorney in Albuquerque. Pete and his wife Betty Case Dinelli have been married since 1984 and they have two adult sons, Mark, who is an attorney and George, who is an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Pete has been a licensed New Mexico attorney since 1978. Pete has over 27 years of municipal and state government service. Pete’s service to Albuquerque has been extensive. He has been an elected Albuquerque City Councilor, serving as Vice President. He has served as a Worker’s Compensation Judge with Statewide jurisdiction. Pete has been a prosecutor for 15 years and has served as a Bernalillo County Chief Deputy District Attorney, as an Assistant Attorney General and Assistant District Attorney and as a Deputy City Attorney. For eight years, Pete was employed with the City of Albuquerque both as a Deputy City Attorney and Chief Public Safety Officer overseeing the city departments of police, fire, 911 emergency call center and the emergency operations center. While with the City of Albuquerque Legal Department, Pete served as Director of the Safe City Strike Force and Interim Director of the 911 Emergency Operations Center. Pete’s community involvement includes being a past President of the Albuquerque Kiwanis Club, past President of the Our Lady of Fatima School Board, and Board of Directors of the Albuquerque Museum Foundation.