Friday, June 12, 2009

Property Crime Rises 9 Percent in ABQ.

We attended Albuquerque Mayoral Candidate Richard "RJ" Berry's Friday morning news conference. Berry show us his company truck which was stolen on May 23rd and recently recovered burned out and destroyed.

From a Campaign News Release:

Berry To Take Property Crime "Head On."

Candidate for Mayor says more needs to be done to protect our citizens.

In front of a pickup truck that was stolen from his family's place of business and burned beyond recognition, Richard Berry today announced his plan to attack and reduce property crime in Albuquerque, a category of crime that by all accounts is out of control. In announcing his three-point plan, Berry released video footage and photographs of crimes committed at his family's place of business and at a tenant's rental unit.

Berry used the videos and photographs to highlight dangerous situations that often occur when property crimes are committed.

"The videos and photographs are pretty shocking and demonstrate what is happening all over this city every day," said Berry. "

Berry says:

We are in need of new solutions and new commitments if we are going to reduce property crime in Albuquerque. This is a quality of life issue. We need a Mayor who will take this head on and get results.

Richard Berry's plan includes:

1. Make property crime response and investigation a top priority within the Albuquerque Police Department. I will work with our police department and bring in experts if needed to determine what is working and what is not. We will work to eliminate overlaps and to fill gaps in our crime prevention efforts. While a revamped task force that focuses exclusively on this type of crime is a definite possibility, organizing and restructuring areas within the department to ensure we have the needed resources to fight this problem is a must.
2. Restore critical funding for crime prevention programs that work. Youth Gang Prevention, Substance Abuse Programs and Neighborhood Deterioration grants have seen funding cuts by Mayor Chavez in this year's budget. Citizen education programs are also under utilized. A few of the programs have been temporarily restored with Federal Stimulus money from APS, but this takes away from other education needs and the funds will run out in 2010. Full and ongoing funding for these vital programs should be a priority rather than a trolley car or a swimming hole at Tingley Beach.

3. Work to stop thieves, but also work to shut down outlets for stolen property. One way to decrease property crime is to stop businesses from buying stolen property from thieves. I will reach out to the District Attorney's office, the legislature and the courts in an effort to bolster our crime fighting efforts. We are below the national average for solving burglaries; we can do better.

According to FBI statistics released recently, property crime in Albuquerque has increased from 29,293 reports in 2007, to 31,907 in 2008, a nine percent increase in one year.

But in contrast, other western cities of comparable population size have seen their property crime rates decrease.

El Paso, whose population exceeds Albuquerque's by approximately 90,000 people, reported only 19,702 property crimes in 2008, a difference 12,000 less crimes. And in Denver, a city with a population that exceeds Albuquerque's by approximately 70,000, the city saw a decreasing rate of property crime and reported only 19,316 crimes in 2008, once again far less than Albuquerque.

"Even though the officers within our police department are working hard to protect our citizens, Albuquerque is still losing the battle with property crime, and like many people who live here, I've felt its affects first hand," said Berry. "Like most folks I'm fed up with the situation. I believe it's time to invest our resources toward reducing this problem. After twelve years of Mayor Chavez, Albuquerque needs a fresh approach, with new leadership and a new focus, to make a real difference."

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

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