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$1M grant to help fight crime

Second Judicial District Attorney Raúl Torres announces that a Community Based Crime Reduction program will be launched in the International District with the help of a $1 million federal grant. He was speaking Tuesday at Emerson Elementary in southeast Albuquerque. (Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

Second Judicial District Attorney Raúl Torres announces that a Community Based Crime Reduction program will be launched in the International District with the help of a $1 million federal grant. He was speaking Tuesday at Emerson Elementary in southeast Albuquerque. (Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

A program intended to bridge the gap between the community and law enforcement is being started in one of the most crime-heavy parts of Albuquerque.

Local, state and federal officials announced, along with several community groups, that a Community Based Crime Reduction program will be launched in the city’s International District with the help of a $1 million federal grant.

The award from the Bureau of Justice Assistance calls for a leadership council to be created with representation from law enforcement, government, researchers, substance abuse providers and community groups. The money also will be used for several positions, including a social worker to be a liaison between neighborhood residents and available programs and agencies, and a community prosecutor who will work in the Albuquerque police Southeast Substation.

“At the end of the day it’s not just law enforcement, it’s not just people in police uniforms and in the prosecutor’s office who are going to build a safe community, it’s the community members themselves,” District Attorney Raúl Torrez said during a news conference at Emerson Elementary School about the grant.

Several locally elected officials and people from various groups who live or work in the International District attended the news event.

The International District roughly stretches north to south from Lomas to Gibson and west to east from Carlisle to Eubank.

A study by the city last year found that 6.7 percent of people in the city, or about 37,600, live in the area. But it was home to 27 percent of the city’s murders and 37 percent of the nonfatal shootings over a three-year period. In the same time period, a violent crime was reported at one of every 10 addresses and a property crime at one of every four.

“Public safety is at the top of our list. It is a priority in our community,” said Gina Naomi Davis, the president of the coalition of neighborhood associations in the area.

City Councilor Pat Davis said the new program is just one of several city projects aimed at improving the district.

“We’re sending a big message to this neighborhood that long has been on everybody’s troubled list,” Davis said. “Those of us who work here know that it’s one of the most engaged in our city. We’re incredibly proud of it. … Millions of dollars are going into changing the way we reimagine the International District.”

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