Colón likened Albuquerque's crime epidemic to a community-wide heart attack.
Saying that Albuquerque’s crime epidemic is the equivalent of a community-wide heart attack, mayoral candidate Brian Colón on Tuesday released a seven-point, three-page crime plan that includes getting the police department up to 1,200 cops and hiring a new police chief within 60 days of taking office.
Colón also said he would reorganize, restaff APD’s property and auto theft units and get the department into compliance with the U.S. Department of Justice’s settlement agreement as quickly as possible.
“We are rife with crime. There is no issue that is more important, we need to start talking about it now,” Colón said. “We are having a heart attack.”
Colón made his announcement at a University area business, the Pita Pit, where he was flanked by three business owners who said they were considering shelving expansion plans, or leaving the city because their businesses had been victimized by criminals.
Gabriel Amador, owner of Amore Pizzeria, said the complex that his business is located in has been burglarized 10 times in the past three weeks. In addition, his employees’ cars have been broken into and had their windows smashed, Amador said.
“That limits our path for growth,” Amador said, adding that he had recently “put a hold on plans for expansion” of his business.
“I have to make a sacrifice to stay in the city, or leave the city I’m in, in order to grow my business,” he added.
Colón’s crime plan includes hiring a new police chief within 60 days of taking office, making sure the new chief reports directly to the mayor, fully complying with the DOJ’s settlement agreement, rebuilding APD’s property crime and auto theft units, rebuilding the narcotics and burglary units, getting APD up to 1,200 officers, putting more cops in public schools and creating a bilingual crime prevention program.
Colón said that public safety has to be the next mayor’s highest priority and that other programs or projects, such as the rebuilding of the fountain in Civic Plaza, would have to be cut back or put on hold until APD is fully staffed.
Colón also said that he’s considering asking voters to approve a public safety tax, but only if there was a plan on how the money would be spent.
And while Colón said he wants a national search for a new police chief, he added that the search would have a “local emphasis.”
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