SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) - Police in Santa Fe say increased patrols and aggressive tactical plans are resulting in more arrests, and more time in jail for bad guys, but it's also coming with a hefty price tag.
Santa Fe police have to pay the jail $85 a day for every inmate they arrest. They need nearly $200,000 just to cover the costs until the end of June.
Police Chief Ray Rael said lately more criminals are being arrested and spending more time in jail.
"The longer they are out of service on the streets, the better off we as a community are," said Rael.
Rael said his officers have been aggressively targeting property and drug crimes. Both have been a major problem there in the past.
"You know, quite honestly it was an embarrassment," said Rael.
He said hard work has paid off, but it's come at a price. Police are asking city councilors to approve $185,000 in additional funding to cover the unexpected influx of inmates through the end of June at the Santa Fe County Adult Detention Center.
For the first time in Rael's memory, they didn't budget enough for this year.
"We budgeted based on traditional numbers, of course extrapolating that out for this year, and anticipated that we'd requested enough funding if things had stayed the same," Rael explained.
However, the numbers didn't stay the same. He attributes the change partially to a proactive approach.
"I have to attribute it to the detectives and the hard work of the officers out there, and I think as you can see the numbers are paying off," he said.
In fact, statistics show burglary crimes are down from 167 in April 2012 to 88 this April.
Aside from targeting property crime offenders, detectives are also mapping hot spots for crimes daily and putting more patrols in those areas.
They even graph times of day for high crime. Plus, police said, they're staying on top of pages of criminal court dates.
"It seems as though our efforts are paying off," said Rael. "Some of these perpetrators are spending more time in jail."
Although it's tax dollars that pay for inmate jail time, police argue it's money well spent.
The city finance committee did approve the extra funds for police. Next the funding goes to the Santa Fe City Council for a vote on May 29. The money would come from Santa Fe's gross receipts tax.
Police said if the funds are not approved, they'll seek the funds elsewhere in the budget. Either way, it means they'll have less for next year to pay for gear such as patrol cars and equipment.
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