ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – You hear it every weekend, cars racing down some of Albuquerque’s busiest roadways. “Paseo, they like to race out there, Tramway, they’re moving around and they’re constantly trying to adapt to what we’re doing to stop them, so we’re having to do like a cat and mouse game with them trying to stay with them or one step ahead of wherever they’re going,” Lieutenant Chris Patterson with the Albuquerque Police Department said.
He is well acquainted with street racing in the city. Patterson is in charge of the swing shift motors unit that focuses on street racing that started two years ago. It’s made up of 8 to 12 officers who patrol Wednesday through Saturday from 4 p.m. until 2 a.m. “We have a crew of people, officers, that are out there every weekend trying to stop that from happening so we can avoid these tragic loss of life like we saw this last couple of weeks.”
Patterson is referring to the deadly street racing crash at Louisiana Blvd. on October 8 that killed two people and sent three to the hospital. “It’s a complete tragedy, I mean the people that were hit, innocent bystanders driving through.”
He said that crash is the perfect example of why they do what they do. “It’s not like it looks in the movies, this isn’t Fast and the Furious where roads are blocked off and it’s movie magic and all that stuff going on, it’s not like that,” Patterson said.
He says there are aspirations of getting a second swing shift that would cover the remainder of the week since street racing can happen anytime, anywhere. If implemented, that would give the unit a chance to crack down on more spontaneous races, like the one they believe caused that deadly crash a few weeks ago on a Sunday, a night the unit doesn’t usually patrol. “My team wouldn’t have been out that night so if we can have that extra coverage, that would be great, we’d have the ability to make a bigger impact,” Patterson said.
They’re also looking at bringing in other units for a major street racing operation in the future, which means more bodies and coverage. “It’s a large city and unfortunately trying to go through and go to all of these different locations with 8 to 12 officers is challenging,” Patterson said.
So far in 2023, APD has issued more than one thousand citations through their street racing tact plan.