ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Two Albuquerque City Councilors are finalizing a bill in hopes of reducing property crime in the city.
The idea is to hire staff who will only respond to property crime calls.
“Property crime is rising and we’re having a hard time getting police officers to handle those calls,” Pat Davis, Albuquerque City Councilor said. Davis adds there’s simply not enough officers to respond to the high number of burglaries, auto thefts and home break-ins in the city every day.
“They’re coming on duty right now with two hours worth of calls backed up,” he explained.
Meaning, if your car just got broken into, you’ll be waiting a while.
“Sometimes a person with a badge and a gun is not always who you need to respond to a call on something that happened hours ago, but we do need professionals who have crime scene experience and investigative experience to look into those and we’re trying to fast track that,” Davis said.
Originally Mayor Berry had proposed bringing back retired officers as private contractors to work on these kinds of calls.
The new proposal sponsored by Councilors Davis and Brad Winter changes that. The bill calls for hiring six new crime scene technicians, six new police service aids and up to 14 retired or former officers to work just on property crime.
A lot of their focus will be on repeat offenders.
“We’re trying to close that gap if we can go from somebody committing 10 burglaries in a couple of days to one and done that’s a huge impact on our neighborhoods and so this is working on those worst offenders for a few months and we’ll see what kind of results we get,” Davis said.
For now, it’s a pilot project in three area commands, the Northeast, Southeast and Southwest.
If response times improve and they’re able to make more arrests, “we should model this city wide next year,” Davis said.
The Property Crime Reduction Pilot Program would cost the city about $1 million a year if they choose to make it permanent.