ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The number of gunshot victims treated at the University of New Mexico Hospital has increased in recent years and 2021 is on pace to continue the trend. It’s reportedly putting a strain on the state’s only level one trauma center and officers.
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“Mostly what we’re been seeing an increase in is assaults and injuries- firearm injuries from one individual directed at another,” Dr. Richard Miskimins of UNMH explained.
Data from UNMH shows it’s treating a rising number of New Mexico’s shooting victims with injuries, including 516 people in 2020, which is a boost of 80 from 2019.
This year is pacing even worse. The first six months of 2021 have seen 307 shooting victims seeking treatment at UNMH. That doesn’t include the incidents in which victims die on scene and are taken straight to OMI.
“When you think about every firearm injury that makes it to the hospital, one doesn’t make it to the hospital, so you really can double that number as the number of injuries that are within the community,” Dr. Miskimins added. “When we look at the state of New Mexico, we are one of the worst in the country for gun violence and firearm injuries, and have been for the last 15 years.”
He said the victims they help include transfers from across the state but most are coming from Albuquerque.
“First six months of the year, we had 141 shootings with injuries,” Albuquerque Police Department Spokesperson Gilbert Gallegos said, adding that’s 17-percent higher than it was in the same time period last year.
Gallegos said the department meets every morning to analyze each incident to determine if the shooting suspects are repeat offenders and if guns are being used in multiple shootings.
“There’s just a lot of guns out there, a lot of firearms,” Gallegos said. “We see just an inordinate amount of stolen firearms, too, to the tune of like 1,000 a year.”
To help, the department is now looking at launching another gun safety campaign urging gun owners to keep track of the serial number and to keep their weapons out of the car.