ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – An alarming trend in the city. Albuquerque is on track to set a new record for the number of murders. KRQE spoke with APD Police Chief Harold Medina for a look at what’s causing the surge in killings.
To put it into perspective, at this time last year, there were forty homicides. As of Thursday, APD is already reporting 73 murders since January. “That doesn’t seem like a large number, that is a large number,” said APD Police, Chief Harold Medina. “Late night drug dealing in either a hotel or park is really driving our homicide rate,” Medina told KRQE.
The latest murder happened at the Quick Track on Central and University, just before one in the morning Thursday. In 2019, APD reported a record-breaking 80 homicides in the city. Last year was the second-highest, ending the year with 77. Now as we head into August with 73 homicides reported, we are on track to outpace ourselves by nearly 75% if the trend continues.
Chief Medina maintains while the number is high, homicide is not out of control in the city and drug activity is fueling the surge. “The first thing I want to go on record to say is nobody deserves to lose their life for anything – a homicide is a homicide,” said Medina. “But a lot of our victims live a lifestyle, and if you don’t live that lifestyle, you greatly reduce your chance of becoming a victim of homicide,” he said.
Keep in mind, sometimes APD will reclassify a homicide once the investigation is complete and the autopsy report comes back from the medical investigator. Right now, APD is waiting to learn the cause of death in five of the 73 murder cases. Depending on the outcome of those investigations, the number of homicides could potentially go down slightly.
APD says there have been another five homicides this year that are counted in the 73. Police ruled those killings were in self-defense and no one is facing charges.