ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Mayor Tim Keller and Albuquerque city officials held a news conference to provide updates on the Violence Intervention Program and the Rapid Accountability Diversion Program in response to the violent crime in the city.
Mayor Keller signed another Emergency Declaration for the City of Albuquerque that continues the previous emergency order and includes emergency procedures and assistance due to COVID-19. The city will continue to use electronic signatures, authorize virtual meetings for boards and commissions, waive fees for businesses for registration and permitting, accelerate construction projects, and will continue mask enforcement operations. Under the new emergency order, bike-in only restaurants and food trucks are acceptable
The City of Albuquerque announced a partnership including the District Attorney’s Office, CYFD, and various other institutions from around the state. The Violence Intervention Program was initially announced in June 2019 and is being developed by the Albuquerque Police Department.
VIP is a partnership system that includes law enforcement prosecutors, social service, and community providers to address and reduce violent crime in the community. The Rapid Accountability Diversion Program (RAD) is now a part of VIP and will initially focus on early age drinking and early intervention on youth gun violence.
The program looks at trends to understand what is driving violent crime in the city and also includes in-person communication with high-risk individuals. “The Violence Intervention Program is a joint community law enforcement effort to end the cycles of gun violence in Albuquerque that destabilize our neighborhoods, create fear for our citizens, and take the lives of many of our young people,” said Gerri Bachicha, manager of VIP.
Bachicha stated that data has determined that less than .01% of the city’s population are drivers of gun violence which means that enforcement strategies must be very targeted.
Recalling the city’s past enforcement of parties and instances of teen violence last summer, Mayor Keller explained VIP must work to address underlying causes of that lead to violence. “We’ve got to have a diversion program for the individuals involved with weapons and with drugs that are at those parties. That is what makes this very different than the previous programs,” said Keller.