Copyright © 2019 Albuquerque Journal
Less than a week after a 23-year-old University of New Mexico student was shot and killed outside a crowded club in the heart of Nob Hill – making him the 26th person slain in Albuquerque this year – city and state officials were quick to act.
Mayor Tim Keller, Police Chief Michael Geier, UNM President Garnett Stokes, 2nd Judicial District Attorney Raúl Torrez and other law enforcement officials held a news conference at the Safari Grill restaurant, across from the Nob Hill triangle substation, Friday morning to announce initiatives aimed at making the business district safer and reducing violent crime up and down the Central corridor.
The initiatives include:
⋄ Assigning an additional 50 New Mexico State Police officers from across the state to work out of Albuquerque, in addition to the seven already here.
⋄ Giving UNM police access to the substation and having them coordinate patrols with Albuquerque Police Department officers.
⋄ Expanding the hours of the Triangle Community Substation on Central and Dartmouth until 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays after bars close.
⋄ Stationing three bike patrol teams to work in Nob Hill during the day and three or four additional officers to patrol on Friday and Saturday nights.
⋄ Working with the Fire Marshal and the New Mexico Registration and Licensing Department to crack down on issues relating to overcrowding and over-serving in bars that could contribute to late night violence.
⋄ Using the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network to match casings to guns used in shootings throughout the state.
“We understand the urgency of this moment, and I want to say to the people and businesses of Nob Hill that we are not giving up on Nob Hill,” Keller said. “No one is giving up on Nob Hill. We are increasing our efforts because we understand, especially because of the proximity to UNM, that Nob Hill is just as critical as any other part of our city.”
Although Nob Hill was the focus of Friday’s meeting, data from the District Attorney’s Office shows that shootings with injury or death are heavily concentrated elsewhere in the Southeast Area Command, with the majority occurring east of San Mateo.
Chief Geier said the plan is to increase the presence of officers throughout the area and in the Southwest Area Command, where gun violence is also prevalent. The State Police officers will be stationed along Central, from UNM to Wyoming.
“The whole southeast is part of the initiative,” he said. “The Nob Hill area right now is the most visible because of the recent homicide, the business owners and their concerns.”
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham could not attend the news conference, but she said after a series of meetings throughout the week that she pledged the assistance of her administration, including State Police, the state Probation and Parole Division, and the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department.
“Violent crime in Albuquerque is a scourge, and we will attack the roots of that scourge with targeted deployments of manpower and resources,” Lujan Grisham wrote in a news release. “New Mexico residents must be free to have every expectation of safety in their homes and communities. It’s our duty as a state to take every action we possibly can to realize that freedom, and I’m proud to stand with our partners in Albuquerque in providing immediate, directed assistance.”