City launches Violence Intervention Program - Albuquerque Journal

City launches Violence Intervention Program

Mayor Tim Keller and Albuquerque Police Chief Michael Geier introduce a Violence Intervention Program on Friday. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/ Albuquerque Journal)

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller introduced a new Violence Intervention Program on Friday afternoon meant to address the high numbers of homicides, shootings and other categories of violent crime across the city.

The initiative was announced the same week the city hit 72 homicides – matching the highest number in recent history. But Keller said they had been planning it for months, visiting different cities and researching other programs that have worked.

“Other cities have dealt with this,” he said. “Unfortunately, in our city and our community as a whole in New Mexico, we are way behind when it comes to dealing with issues around violent crime. However this means there are a lot of cities to learn from.”

Sarita Nair, the city’s chief administrative officer, said Albuquerque Police Department officials started their research at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York and then visited Oakland, which has implemented “Operation Ceasefire” – a data-driven crime-fighting strategy that coordinates law enforcement, social services and the community to reduce gun and gang violence.

The District Attorney’s Office began working on Operation Ceasefire last spring to target the most violent individuals. Its Crime Strategies Unit has been tracking all shootings with injury and looking at gang or group affiliations of offenders and victims in order to identify patterns and disrupt them.

However, Nair said, the Albuquerque program will be built to address other kinds of crime as well – including domestic violence – in addition to gang violence.

“There is a big component of gang violence here but if we focus on that we’re not going to change,” she said. “We need to make it broader than that.”

According to a study by the Giffords Law Center, Oakland’s Operation Ceasefire got going in spring of 2012. That year there were 164 homicides, but by 2013 it had decreased dramatically and, for the most part, continued a downward trend.

“How fast it works is important, how long it lasts is more important,” Nair said. “We really feel like this program can break an inter-generational cycle of violence so that the next time there’s a budget contraction and someone makes difficult decisions about police staffing it’s not going to have the effect it had here because we were not looking at the underlying factors of crime.”

The four key parts of the Violence Intervention Program include:

• Restructuring APD to create a Violence Intervention Division with its own commander to encourage investigators in specialized units, as well as forensic technicians, crime analysts and victim advocates to work together.

• Collaboration between prosecutors with the Attorney General’s Office, District Attorney’s Office, U.S. Attorney and Office of Superintendent of Insurance to share information and ensure that cases are going to the appropriate courts.

• Family and Community Services working with the community to identify “evidence-based violence reduction strategies” and require providers to work within the program. The city will hire a clinical social worker as the Deputy Director of Health.

• Reaching out to the Bernalillo County Community Health Council and leading “partnership-based violence reduction efforts to improve police-community trust and sustain the strategy over time.”

The city will ask the Legislature for $10 million to fund the program statewide, with about $2 million going to Albuquerque, Nair said.

Home » News » Albuquerque News » City launches Violence Intervention Program

Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email

taboola desktop

New city commission to focus on domestic violence, sexual ...
ABQnews Seeker
In an effort to improve interventions, ... In an effort to improve interventions, services and public understanding, Albuquerque is launching the Commission on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. The city council ...
Volunteers needed for vital CASA program
ABQnews Seeker
Goal is 'to have 100% case ... Goal is 'to have 100% case coverage,' says executive director of CASA Partners 4NMKids
City council says yes to noise cameras
ABQnews Seeker
and listening — too. The city ... and listening — too. The city council on Monday approved a pilot program aimed at detecting loud vehicles through the use of special cameras. ...
116 Albuquerque students shop for new clothes
ABQnews Seeker
Nonprofit Locker505 provides clothing for more ... Nonprofit Locker505 provides clothing for more than 12,000 students through community donations
Council votes to strike safe outdoor space language from ...
ABQnews Seeker
The ongoing debate over safe outdoor ... The ongoing debate over safe outdoor spaces in Albuquerque continued Monday without any sign that either side is changing its mind. The City Council ...
Proposed anti-abortion law still tabled in Clovis
ABQnews Seeker
City's mayor breaks a tied vote ... City's mayor breaks a tied vote on the issue
Teammates helped NMSU basketball player after fatal shooting
ABQnews Seeker
Gun wasn’t turned over to police ... Gun wasn’t turned over to police for more than 12 hours
NM expands help with filling court forms
ABQnews Seeker
Court-scribe program helps people understand and ... Court-scribe program helps people understand and complete documents
Father earns life sentence in toddler's death
ABQnews Seeker
Defense attorney intends to appeal Defense attorney intends to appeal