ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque Police Department is seeing a rise in homicides this year. According to Deputy Commander Kyle Hartsock, from 2019 to 2020, almost every major US city saw an increase in violent crime and homicides. He explains that Albuquerque actually saw a minor reduction of homicides from 2019 to 2020 of about 5%.
The year 2021 is trending higher. According to the department’s tracker, there have been 42 homicides tied to 40 investigations in the city with 10 suspects charged from January 1, 2021, through May 6, 2021. The online tool provides a detailed breakdown of the location of the case along with a map of the incident and also tracks weapons used, as well as motivations.
The department announced that it will be increasing its homicide unit to up to 16 full-time detectives. Hartsock says that APD currently has 13 to 14 detectives however they aren’t all released from training. “Once we’re at 16 it’s going to allow the homicide unit to also create larger working groups of detectives that handle the on-call,” said Hartsock. “In the past, one detective or maybe two would go on-call a week at a time and if there was a surge in homicides in a short period of time, this put a lot of casework on one person or two persons to handle.”
APD is also looking to add full-time victim advocates to the unit in order to provide increased correspondence with the victims’ families. The advocates’ duties would be to update the families’ on the status of cases, get them connected to any services they need, and be available to promptly return calls.
With many homicides involving narcotics, the department also says it will be expanding its narcotics unit. “Currently to bridge that gap, we’re working very well with our federal partners to include DEA, ATF, FBI to assist with the narcotics issue,” said Deputy Chief Arturo Gonzales.