On April 26, the Major Cities Chiefs Association released its Violent Crime Survey and national totals for the crimes of homicides, rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults. According to the report, Albuquerque is ranked 17th among 70 of the largest cities in the nation looking at trends in the 4 categories. The single most troubling statistic is Albuquerque’s increase in homicides.
The Major Cities Chiefs Association uses the Federal Bureau of Investigation Uniform Crime report definitions of Homicide, Rape, Robbery and Aggravated Assault. The definitions used and the national statistics are as follows:
Homicide is divided into the two major categories of murder and nonnegligent manslaughter. Murder is defined as the willful (nonnegligent) killing of one human being by another. Deaths caused by negligence, attempts to kill, assaults to kill, suicides, and accidental deaths are excluded. Justifiable homicides are classified separately and the definition is limited to: (1) the killing of a felon by a law enforcement officer in the line of duty; or (2) the killing of a felon, during the commission of a felony, by a private citizen. The second category is Manslaughter by Negligence and is defined as the killing of another person through gross negligence. Deaths of persons due to their own negligence, accidental deaths not resulting from gross negligence, and traffic fatalities are not included in the category Manslaughter by Negligence. The total number of murders for the last two years in the United States were:
Forcible rape is defined as the carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will. Rapes by force and attempts or assaults to rape, regardless of the age of the victim, are included. Statutory offenses (no force used— victim under age of consent) are excluded. The total number rapes for the last two years in the United State were:
Robbery is defined as the taking or attempting to take anything of value from the care, custody, or control of a person or persons by force or threat of force or violence and/or by putting the victim in fear. The total number robberies for the last two years in the United States were:
Aggravated assault is defined as an unlawful attack by one person upon another for the purpose of inflicting severe or aggravated bodily injury. This type of assault usually is accompanied by the use of a weapon or by means likely to produce death or great bodily harm. The total number of aggravated assaults in the United States for the last two years were:
The statistics for Albuquerque reported by the Major Cities Chiefs Association for the last two years were as follows:
The Major Cities Chiefs Association report shows in 2022, there was a 5% drop in homicides nationwide. According to the Major Cities Chiefs Association, Albuquerque had one of the worst homicide rates in the nation and is one of 27 cities across the nation that saw an increase in homicides. The report shows in 2021, there were 106 homicides. In 2022, there were 115, an 8% increase. Other nearby cities like Phoenix saw a 13% increase in homicides. Meanwhile, to the north, the Denver Police Department reported an 8% decrease in homicides. Just four hours south, the city of El Paso saw a 28% decrease in homicides, one of the highest drops in the report.
Click to access MCCA-Violent-Crime-Report-2022-and-2021-Midyear.pdf
THE BIGGER PICTURE IS MUCH WORSE
The Major Cities Chiefs Association report was only for the two years of 2021 and 2022. What the report did not reveal is that Albuquerque’ homicides have spiked the last 6 years and the city has in fact had a 71% spike in homicides.
On Thursday, March 16, 2023 the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) released the 2022 crime statistics along with crime statistics for 2021 for a comparison. APD Chief Harold Medina reported Albuquerque crime statistics as follows:
CRIMES AGAINST PERSONS
EDITORS NOTE: Crimes Against Persons include murder, rape, and assault, and are those in which the victims are always individuals.
2022: 12,777 (4% DECREASE)
CRIMES AGAINST PROPERTY
EDITOR’S NOTE: Crimes Against Property include robbery, bribery, and burglary, or to obtain money, property, or some other benefit.
2022: 43,824 (2% DECREASE)
CRIMES AGAINST SOCIETY
EDITOR’S NOTE: 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.
2022: 5,133 (24% INCREASE)
Chief Medina also presented a vertical bar graph that revealed that over the last 6 years, Albuquerque has had a dramatic 71% spike in homicides. The number of homicides reported over the last 6 years is as follows:
2017: 70 homicides
2018: 69 homicides
2019: 80 homicides
2020: 78 homicides
2021: 110 homicides
2022: 120 homicides.
KELLER’S FAILED VIOLENT CRIME REDUCTION PROGRAMS
In 2019, Mayor Tim Keller reacting to the spiking violent crime rates, announced 4 programs in 9 months to deal with and bring down the city’s high violent crime rates. Keller also launched his “Community Safety Department” and his “Metro Crime Initiative” which he claimed will fix the “broken criminal justice” system.
All 5 initiatives involve early intervention and partnership with other agencies and are summarized as follows:
- THE SHIELD UNIT
In February 2018 the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) created the “Shield Unit”. The Shield Unit assists APD Police Officers to prepare cases for trial and prosecution by the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s office.
- DECLARING VIOLENT CRIME A PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS
On April 8, 2019, Mayor Keller and APD announced efforts that will deal with “violent crime” in the context of it being a “public health crisis” and dealing with crimes involving guns in an effort to bring down violent crime in Albuquerque.
- THE “VIOLENCE INTERVENTION PLAN” The “Violence Intervention PLAN (VIP program)
On November 22, 2019 Mayor Tim Keller announced what he called a “new initiative” to target violent offenders called “Violence Intervention Plan” (VIP) . Mayor Keller proclaimed the VIP is a “partnership system” that includes law enforcement, prosecutors and social service and community provides to reduce violent crime. Mayor Keller stated:
“… This is about trying to get these people not to shoot each other. …This is about understanding who they are and why they are engaged in violent crime. … And so, this actually in some ways, in that respect, this is the opposite of data. This is action. This is actually doing something with people. …”
The “Violence Intervention Plan” can be described as a “fantasy land” experiment especially when there is little that can be done to prevent the violent crime of murder by “trying to get these people not to shoot each other” and “understanding who they are and why they are engaged in violent crime.”
- THE METRO 15 OPERATION PROGRAM
On Tuesday, November 26, 2019 Mayor Tim Keller held a press conference to announce a 4th program within 9 months to deal with the city’s violent crime and murder rates. At the time of the press conference, the city’s homicide count was at 72, matching the city’s record in 2017.
Simply put, all 4 of Keller’s programs can be described as failures and not having any real statistical impact on reducing crime. The truth is that for a good 3 years before the COVID pandemic hit the city hard in 2020 under Keller’s watch, violent crime rates were spiking, so much so that 4 years ago then candidate for Mayor Tim Keller made reducing the city’s crime rates a cornerstone of his campaign.
- METRO CRIME INITIATIVE
On September 23, 2021 Mayor Keller concluded a conference he dubbed he the “Metro Crime Initiative”. Participants included APD, the DA’s Office, the Courts and many other stakeholders to address what all participants labelled the “broken criminal justice” system.
The entire “Metro Crime Initiative” started with the phony proposition declared by Mayor Keller and all the participants that our criminal justice system is broken. During the September 23 concluding press conference, local leaders admitted they have not been providing enough protection and resources to keep people safe.
A list of 40 action items were revealed by Keller with the hope that once implemented they will lower Albuquerque’s crime efficiently and quickly. All the participants patted each other on the back for doing such a good job and asserting they have found the solution.
When you examine the “check list” of the 40 different proposals that were the result of the Metro Crime Initiative, the proposals are essentially what all the participants have been working on over the past 3 years and include many programs already announced. The list contains nothing new. The items listed are ones that the participants should have been doing in the first place. A detail “check list” pamphlet was produces containing details of each action plan and can be found here:
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
In 2017 when the New Mexico State Auditor Tim Keller ran for Mayor, he ran on the platform of reducing the city’s high crime rates, implementing the Department of Justice (DOJ) consent decree reforms, increasing the size of the Albuquerque Police Department from the then 950 to 1,200 and returning to “community-based policing”. In August, 2017, Keller went so far as to say about the city’s high crime rates:
“It’s unfortunate, but crime is absolutely out of control. It’s the mayor’s job to actually address crime in Albuquerque, and that’s what I want to do as the next mayor.”
Fast forward to October 4, 2021 when Keller was running for a second term and confronted by the Albuquerque Journal about the city’s spiking crime rates during his first term. Keller said this:
“I think we have honored the commitment to fight crime in a real way. That’s not just about talking tough or doing roundups or something like that, we’re actually trying to address crime from all sides. … And we have done that. Had we not done that our city would be in a much, much worse place. … It’s either naive or disingenuous for anyone to think that our crime and drug problems are so surface level that they can just be fixed by being tougher, or by arresting people. … I don’t think it’s fair to say that there’s something we could have done that would have prevented an increase in homicide … I think all around the country, it’s just shown that that’s just not true right now. … I think I’ve provided the right kind leadership at the right time and in a difficult time …”
Mayor Tim Keller reacting to the April 26, 2023 Major Cities Chiefs Association report had this to say:
“We have two challenges working against us. One is national trends that are all getting worse so we have to do what we can in our city, but when there’s a tidal wave of crime across America, it’s going to affect us.”
It’s not an issue of being fair to Mayor Keller, not an issue of leadership, nor a “tidal wave across America” but one of being held accountable for failing to do what you promise to do as an elected official. Keller’s comments about homicide prevention was and still is a pathetic attempt to avoid admitting his programs to prevent violent crime have failed.
Keller wants the public to forget the promises he made and his failures and APD’s ability to reduce crime. The Major Cities Chiefs Association report shows in 2022, there was a 5% drop in homicides nationwide, but not in Albuquerque where we had another spike in murders going from 78 murders in 2020 to 110 murders in 2021 and 120 murders in 2022. The “tidal wave across America” Keller referred to did not hit the northern shores of Denver, Colorado where the Denver Police Department reported an 8% decrease in homicides nor the southern shores of the city of El Paso, Texas which saw a 28% decrease in homicides.
A 71% spike in homicides during Keller’s tenure as Mayor is an obscene reflection that the city has become one of the most violent cities in the country under his tenure. This is our new norm as Keller blames it on national trends. Keller’s promised 1,200 sworn police during his 5 years as Mayor never materialized. The city and APD never once in his 5 years as Mayor even had 1,000 sworn police. Keller’s community base policing has yet to fully materialize and APD is still struggling to fully implement the Department of Justice reforms and come into compliance with the Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA).
Keller’s “One Albuquerque” has become Keller’s “One Albuquerque’s Crime Scene”.