Crime Beat

Albuquerque On Track for 70% Murder Increase Over 2018–2020

Image by Gerd Altmann

Albuquerque has recorded its 60th homicide, which is conservative by some estimates but still puts the Duke City on track for a record 127 murders in 2021.

New Mexico’s most populated city had 76 murders in 2020, 80 in 2019, and 69 in 2018, according to data from the City of Albuquerque.

The crime surge is occurring despite diligent efforts by our men and women in blue, who just last week completed their 39th city-wide Anti-Crime Operation, resulting in 59 arrests (including 29 new felony arrests), for a total of 1,884 arrests since the operations began in August 2021, according to the Albuquerque Police Department.

While defenders of the status quo will point to rising crime across the country as reason not to single out Albuquerque, criminal activity doesn’t occur in a vacuum. Police presence does have the effect of quelling criminal activity, and broken windows policing has proven effective, police respond to crime, they don’t prevent it.

That’s city leadership’s job.

But with a revolving door policy for criminals and the elimination of cash bail in 2016, crime is on voters’ doorsteps largely because of voters.

The elimination of cash bail requirements was approved by voters at the ballot box. Judges are elected by the people, as are the city and state leaders who make and oversee enforcement of the laws — governors most of all. Of New Mexico’s five state Supreme Court Justices, all are Democrat, three were appointed by sitting Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, and sitting Justice Barbara J. Vigil is retiring at the end of June, giving Lujan Grisham yet another appointment to the highest court in the state.

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller, for his part, has proposing significant increases in police funding in his next budget, but much of the funding is for a social worker program for non-violent offenders with mental health problems.  

While many will welcome the additional resources, non-violent offenders aren’t taking the lives of sons and daughters, mothers and fathers from the residents of Albuquerque. Murderers are.

There is no single solution to the myriad problems facing Duke City, but continuing to do what we have always done and expecting a different result is, to quote Albert Einstein, insanity. 

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