SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Crime and murder is so bad in New Mexico that Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham is asking the federal government for help. The governor is asking that about 50 federal agents be sent here.
There’s no doubt—violent crime in New Mexico is on the rise. This year, Albuquerque has already seen 100 murders. The uptick led the governor to write a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland to send federal agents to help curb the rise in violent crime.
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The federal government has stepped in before in other cities to help with rising crime rates. Just last year, a federal task force was formed to help in Buffalo, New York called ‘VIPER.’ “We will not tolerate this lawlessness and this wanton violence,” says James Kennedy, Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York.
That is where the Drug Enforcement Administration, FBI, and other agencies sent agents into the area for six months to address a surge of gun violence. In that case, the DEA reports a more than 50% drop in murders and almost 150 firearms arrests.
This is the second request the governor has made for federal help this year. In June, the governor asked for help from the FBI but was turned down.
Wednesday, the attorney general of New Mexico reacted to the request stating it will help New Mexico law enforcement agencies that are short-handed. However, he said these types of requests are not a long-term solution. “I think this is a temporary solution that the governor’s advocating for but we believe that it could make a positive impact,” said Hector Balderas, Attorney General of New Mexico.
There is no word on when a decision on the request will be made.
KRQE News 13 reached out to the FBI’s New Mexico Field Office about the governor’s request. The FBI pointed us to the Department of Justice for comment. Last year, FBI data shows 28,000 violent crimes in New Mexico including murder, rape, assault and kidnapping—the second highest in the nation.
News 13 asked for an interview from the Albuquerque mayor and the police chief; they sent statements:
“We have consistently called for more resources to fight violent crime, and support the press for additional federal resources today. Gun violence in American cities requires an all-hands response, this is the time for stronger partnerships across the criminal justice system.”Tim Keller, Mayor of Albquuerque
“Our officers are making significant arrests every day, often working with law enforcement partners such as the FBI. We welcome more boots on the ground, and encourage state and federal investments across the criminal justice system. We need to prosecute and keep violent offenders in jail.”Chief Harold Medina, Albquerque Police Department