The No. 1 job for any level of government is protection of private property of the citizens it serves. This includes tangible and intangible personal property as well as life and liberty. From the murder rate to property crimes, the city of Albuquerque is failing in its primary responsibility to its citizens.
Why? There are two major flaws in how this job is being performed.
1) Looking back to cities that have had a great result in protecting citizens and their property, the first requirement is the police force being adequate. Successful police chiefs for the past 50 years have all agreed three police officers per 1,000 of population is the first responsibility of the politicians running the city. For Albuquerque, we have 500,000 citizens, so 3 x 500 = 1,500 police officers. We currently have (about 940) officers. Mayor (Tim) Keller and most of the City Council ran on enlarging the police force but have failed miserably.
A deficit of nearly 600 officers is why you cannot get a response to anything but the most serious 911 call, why the streets of Albuquerque are lawless as to traffic violations, why property crimes are ridiculously high, why there are no crime prevention patrols in high crime areas, why we have panhandlers on every street corner and homeless tents and trash on private and public property, (and) why drugs and murder rates are dangerously extreme.
It would cost $60 million annually to put 600 more police officers on the street, but that $60 million should be spent first and other city expenditures eliminated that prevent the police department from doing its job.
2) Every law must be enforced, from shoplifting to jaywalking to speeding and running red lights, trespassing, to – well, you get the picture. Cities that have committed to these fundamental responsibilities have crime rates so low that citizens feel like they are being served well by the government they support with their tax dollars. A good example of this is New York City when Mayor (Rudy) Giuliani and his chief of police adopted these two requirements. New York City had 3.31 police officers per 1,000 of population, and they used the broken window strategy of policing – every law was enforced. The crime rate in NYC was lower than most small towns.
This can happen in Albuquerque, but first we must get rid of Keller and City Council members who are failing all of us, and elect a city government that understands what job No. 1 truly is.