I’ve watched our crime epidemic spiral nearly into a state of lawlessness. This is the current administration’s failure and our community must hold leadership accountable.
BY BRIAN COLÓN, CANDIDATE FOR MAYOR OF ALBUQUERQUE
I am writing regarding Lavu’s recent, highly-publicized correspondence with the mayor’s office. This situation epitomizes the distress crime has placed on our great city. I highly value Lavu and commend its leadership in getting a response from this administration; however, we need more than an operational plan for this lone city block that houses one of Albuquerque’s best businesses. We need real solutions.
Sadly, the outbreak of crime in central Albuquerque encompasses a far greater area than just the 100 block of Central Avenue SW. In the past week alone, several businesses in the Silver Hill/University/Nob Hill areas have experienced armed robbery, attempted carjacking and vandalism. Shockingly, the malicious attacks at Donut Mart, FreeRange, 99 Degrees Seafood and the PitaPit occurred in broad daylight.
I’ve watched our crime epidemic spiral nearly into a state of lawlessness. This is the current administration’s failure and our community must hold leadership accountable. The mayor needs direct input on tasks ranging from the creation of new (and much-needed) task forces to attending Police Oversight meetings.
Police Chief Gordon Eden needs to be replaced. A national search can identify a police chief who can rebuild trust between the police department and citizens while maintaining a climate of neutrality. The mayor should work directly with the chief to understand our city’s crime problem. The administration has a responsibility to its citizens and business owners to implement innovative approaches to crime identification, crime prevention and police recruitment.
The city’s budget currently funds 1,000 APD officers, an anemic force considering Albuquerque’s massive crime problem. In an attempt to balance the city’s budget, Mayor Richard Berry has mandated a 10 percent vacancy rate in the police department. Our city’s budget must reflect our values, and that means putting public safety first.
In order to reach the optimum number of qualified officers, we need to increase the frequency of academies, candidate diversity and provide compensation and benefits to make APD an attractive choice.
Let’s convene businesses, community advocates and police officers to identify what is working and fix what is not.