ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - With all of this holiday shopping, comes more holiday shoplifters. Thieves will no doubt be targeting stores and unsuspecting shoppers over the next month.
While the Albuquerque Police Department already has a plan to curb the problem, one city councilor has an idea he says goes beyond that. However, the plan will come at a cost to taxpayers.
When potential criminals see a police car in a parking lot, maybe they'll think twice before swiping that sweater or electronic.
"The more police officers we see out on the streets of Albuquerque, I think people are more aware and more conscientious and I think it becomes a safer community," explained City Councilor Ken Sanchez from Albuquerque's District 1.
That is why Sanchez said he's asking the mayor and police chief to modify the take-home policy for police officers and allow them to use their patrol cars for personal use during the holidays.
Sanchez wants officers to drive them just about anywhere, the grocery store, running an errand, or buying Christmas presents.
"I think it'd be alright, it'd probably help deter some theft," Albuquerque resident Pedro Gonzalez told KRQE News 13.
"I think its a great idea, anything that would bring more safety and security to the streets for the city of Albuquerque," added Erika Madrid.
Sanchez said property crimes, especially vehicle break-ins, dramatically increase this time of year. With limited staff and overtime resources, Sanchez said this plan would keep police cars present during the holidays and help put a stop to seasonal crimes.
"It's a quick fix, and it's not very expensive," explained Sanchez.
Still, not everyone thinks its worth it.
"No, I don't think its fair, especially for the taxpayers," said resident Angelita Armijo.
Sanchez said the difference would be minimal.
"Its a very small difference," he continued. "If we have to pay overtime to our police officers, that's a lot more expensive.
"This way these officers are off duty, yet they're still protecting the citizens of Albuquerque."
Currently, officers can drive to and from home as long as they live within a 15-mile radius from the city.
KRQE News 13 contacted a spokesperson for the mayor's office and was told the mayor needs time to review and discuss the proposal with the police chief. If the policy change does take place, Sanchez said it would be in effect until Jan. 1.
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