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City must reduce crime to live up to its potential

Albuquerque has become well known nationally because of the popular television series “Breaking Bad.” But do we really want to be known as the “Breaking Bad” city? We read, listen to, and watch the news every day about violence, drug abuse, crime, Albuquerque Public Schools budget cuts, police shootings, rape, domestic violence, poverty, theft, drug epidemics, drug trafficking. We don’t hear enough about the good side of Albuquerque. Albuquerque has many good features; we are not just a city of crime.

The mayor needs to emphasize the positive features of Albuquerque to show people that Albuquerque is a great city – not a crime capital. Once a year, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta attracts people from all over the world. Albuquerque also has special features and tourist attractions, including the Sandia Tramway, which is the longest in the world. There are also several interesting museums in the Old Town area. Other features include the Albuquerque Bio Park Zoo, Aquarium, Botanic Garden and Old Town Plaza. We also have excellent academic and sports programs in our schools.

The mayor has already taken some positive steps to improve the quality of life in Albuquerque, including a special program to help the homeless and the new ART bus system on Central Avenue. However, something must be done to reduce the crime in Albuquerque. The city is trying to increase the number of police officers to 1,000. One candidate for mayor is promising to raise the number to 1,200 if he is elected. I think this is an excellent idea, because more police officers will mean fewer crimes in our city. Albuquerque has a crime rate that is more than double the national rate. From, Albuquerque’s violent crime rate in 2015 per 100,000 population was 530.5; the U.S. average was 207.7.

Albuquerque has always felt like a safe home to me, but hearing the television repeating stories of APD shootings, thefts and many more crimes makes me wonder how safe I really am. Sometimes I wake up to bad news the next morning in my own house, finding out that our car window was shattered and something stolen. According to KOB-TV, “a car is stolen every hour in the Metro.”

Statistics show us that Albuquerque has one of the highest crime rates in the nation. There have been several tragic crime stories in Albuquerque, including Albuquerque police officers shooting and killing a homeless man named James Boyd, the violent killing of Victoria Martens and the road-rage killing of four-year old Lily Garcia.

We need the mayor and the city leaders to do more to help improve the quality of life for everyone, especially the children. Reducing crime would be the first step to making Albuquerque a better place to live.