All eight mayoral candidates on the ballot have identified crime as the No. 1 issue facing the city right now, which isn’t surprising given the spike in homicides, car thefts and other crimes in Albuquerque.
They’re frequently asked during mayoral forums what they would do to get a handle on the problem. In their responses, several of the candidates have relayed to voters how crime has personally impacted them or members of their family.
What follows is the mayoral candidates’ views — in their own words — regarding how they would address the city’s crime issue. The answers are in response to two questions on Journal questionnaires sent to the candidates, who were restricted to 40 words for each answer.
1. What is the biggest issue facing the city, and how would you address it?
Other cities have solved the crime problem. It’s not unsolvable. It comes down to leadership. I’d find a new chief and review the command staff, individually. We need more police on the beat, where they can fight crime effectively.
Undoubtedly, crime. Our crime epidemic has spiraled nearly into a state of lawlessness. This is the current administration’s failure. Our community deserves trust in its police department, rebuilt through an appropriately-staffed and highly trained police force.
Michelle Garcia Holmes
Crime; I will take a multipronged approach to aggressively combat crime in our city by holding criminals and our criminal justice system accountable; collaboration with the DA’s Office, U.S. Attorney and federal partners widens our net to ensure repeat offenders are prosecuted.
Crime — it affects everything from quality of life to job creation. We need to give back the keys to APD from DOJ; build better coordination with the DA; and demand judges send repeat offenders to prison where they belong.
Albuquerque is a strong, special place with immense challenges. We have the highest crime rates in a decade and fewer job opportunities. Few are getting ahead, many left behind. Let’s meet these challenges head-on and build a safe, inclusive, innovative city.
Albuquerque is plagued by an unprecedented rise in auto theft, property crimes, and violent crimes — with fewer officers on the streets, and fewer criminals in our jail. We will make our city the worst place to be a criminal.
Crime, but crime is a symptom of economics, health, and opportunity. We’ll address mental health and homelessness to decrease crime. In turn, we’ll create a larger and more invigorated workforce and business climate to bring jobs and opportunity to Albuquerque.
Crime and public safety:
a. Complete DOJ agreement, meeting or exceeding terms.
b. Replace police chief.
c. Address issues related to: poverty (systemic); patterns of low educational outcomes (systemic); addiction; non-optimal job prospects (systemic); apathy of public toward sharing responsibilities for keeping neighborhoods safe and crime-free.
2. What would you do to tackle Albuquerque’s crime problem?
We need more police on the beat, and but we must address problems in the command staff, including the chief, which will help address morale problems in the department.
Albuquerque needs targeted police units to reduce violent and property crime. Community policing and partnership efforts must be supplemented with stringent pretrial procedures, repeat-offender review with enhanced criminal prosecution, mental health training, treatment for individuals with addiction and gang prevention.
Michelle Garcia Holmes
By supporting my chief to work with technology and proven practices like the Albuquerque Regional Auto Theft Unit, to attack our metro-wide auto theft problem, and a Felony Case Review Team to ensure all investigated felony cases are complete, ready for prosecution and tracked.
In the short term, I’ll look for resources, create partnerships and bring those resources to bear to stamp out our crime wave. One potential partner is the fully staffed Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department. Use budgeted city dollars to strategically deploy sheriff’s deputies in the city.
Our plan includes instituting real community policing; embracing and completing DOJ efforts; taking better care of our front-line officers by no longer waiting for others, pointing fingers, or making excuses for officer shortage; and addressing addiction, mental health and homelessness.
Keep repeat offenders in jail and out of our neighborhoods, put 1,200 officers on our streets performing community policing, and ensure they are well-led, better-paid, and well-trained with the resources to do their job effectively.
Finish the Department of Justice mandate, fully staff police and legal departments, and overhaul emergency service delivery. Through non-officer, service-based response to homelessness and addiction, we save money, reduce strain on officers, and provide better outcomes and services for all residents.