ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Mayor Tim Keller, Albuquerque Police Department Interim Chief Harold Medina, and department leaders held a news conference on Thursday, Feb. 18 to provide an update on anti-crime operations. Mayor Keller discussed the City’s push to hire new officers and how it has been beneficial in proactive policing. “There’s no way we could be doing these programs that we’re describing to you if we did not bring in over the last few years, those 200 officers,” said Keller.
The mayor said that since last August, APD has conducted 22 operations that resulted in 1,023 arrests. Additionally, 143 guns have been seized and 128 stolen cars have been recovered.
The anti-crime operations run in addition to the Metro 15 program. Keller says 73% of those who have been arrested in the Metro 15 program are no longer on the streets.
Since the launch of the city’s Violence Intervention Program, 110 individuals have participated in the program which strives to reduce violent crime in the community and focuses on in-person communication with high risk individuals.
APD reports in 2019 the department recovered 1,769 firearms compared to the 2,100 firearms collected last year. Chief Medina explains there was an uptick in firearms collected in the fall of 2020 and in July before anti-crime operations began, the department recovered 162 firearms. In August, with the kickoff of the operations, 218 were collected.
The department states that the anti-crime initiative has become part of normal operations for APD. “All operational divisions within APD are assisting our patrol officers by going out into the community and trying to locate no-bond warrant offenders and repeat drivers of crime,” said Commander Luke Languit.
Languit explains that the arrest of over 1,000 individuals has created an impact within the community and highlights the case of Thomas Trujillo who police say was observed stealing items from a Lowe’s hardware store and loading them into a stolen vehicle. Detectives were able to arrest Trujillo who was charged with being in possession of stolen property and a stolen vehicle. APD also says Trujillo also had two felony warrants for previous property crime cases.
According to APD, Trujillo was seen again on January 15, 2021 during another anti-crime operation this time, he was accused of felony auto theft. Languit says on February 4, Trujillo was seen yet again by the same team working the same anti-crime operation and Trujillo was arrested again for allegedly being behind the wheel of another stolen vehicle.
“To me I feel it’s safe, or reasonable, or fair to say that in this two month period where we arrested him three times, every time that he’s out of jail, he is immediately looking for people to victimize, property to steal and vehicles to steal,” said Languit.
During a Feb. 4 update, APD highlighted the department’s Social Media Narcotics operation explaining that they are expanding the mission of their narcotics team to the trends they are seeing. On January 26 the department completed its 18th city-wide anti-crime operation that resulted in 41 arrests.