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APD touts success in combating city crime

Interim Police Chief Harold Medina holds a briefing on violent crime outside Albuquerque police headquarters in January. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

The Albuquerque Police Department has arrested more than 1,000 people, seized nearly 150 guns and recovered more than 125 stolen vehicles in over 20 operations over the past six months.

“Since starting our anti-crime operations, we have successfully taken repeat, at times violent, offenders into custody and dangerous weapons out of their hands,” interim Chief Harold Medina said in a statement Thursday. “Not only are we bringing these individuals to justice, but also we are seeing the positive effects on our overall crime.”

Despite the six months of increased enforcement, APD has battled a steady flow of homicides – many of them unsolved – in 2021. In 2020, the city saw 76 slayings, the second-highest total in recent history.

But APD spokeswoman Rebecca Atkins said the operations have “clearly” impacted crime in the city by recovering more weapons and arresting more repeat offenders than in years past. She said the most recent operation, APD’s 22nd, resulted in 56 felony arrests, 31 for warrants; and 17 misdemeanor arrests, five for warrants.

It also yielded four stolen vehicles and seven guns.

All told, Atkins said the operations have yielded 1,023 arrests, along with the seizure of 143 guns and 128 stolen vehicles. She said APD is recovering more and more guns. In 2019, police seized 1,769 firearms, a number that grew to 2,148 in 2020.

Up until the new year, APD had repeatedly touted the fact that Albuquerque had not seen the large spikes in violent crime being experienced by other cities in the nation.

That changed toward the end of January, however, when police held a briefing on homicides after dealing with 13 killings – including two double homicides – before the month was up.

Since then, that number has grown to 20 homicide investigations so far, with an arrest being made in three cases. By this same time last year, there had been 10 homicides.

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