The Bernalillo County District Attorney is touting new data that he believes shows his office’s efforts to reduce crime are working.
In a new report titled “Impact Prosecution,” District Attorney Raul Torrez says the latest statistics show a drop in the overall number of criminal cases in Bernalillo County.
“When you look at that data and you see 16 months of a sustained drop in crime, there’s reason to be hopeful, but I don’t want anyone here to be complacent,” said Torrez in an interview with KRQE News 13 Tuesday.
Torrez is careful to say that Albuquerque’s crime problem is not over and done with, saying the office has a “long way to go” in the work it’s doing. However, Torrez also believes that his office’s work has helped to lessen the number of new reported criminal cases in the metro.
“We were in a very deep hole when we took over, but we’re making really solid progress,” said Torrez.
The assessment comes as Torrez gets ready to address lawmakers about his budget next week. The report, Torrez says, is an effort to explain what his office has done with its increased budget. Lawmakers gave Torrez an extra $4 million during the 2018 Legislative Session.
“We wanted to demonstrate to the Legislature and the folks who were very interested in the resources that we had coming into the office, what we were going to be able to accomplish,” said Torrez.
According to statistics in the report, the total number of criminal cases reported each month in Bernalillo County dipped below 3,000 reports per month in late 2018. That’s the lowest level of total crime reports since March 2015, and well below the spike of more than 4,000 reports in August 2017.
Torrez in part points to a few key factors in the crime drop. First, his office is triaging and filing criminal cases faster in District Court than the prior administration had.
“What we’re aiming to do, is send a signal, again to those impacted offenders that if you get arrested this criminal case is going to be initiated right away,” said Torrez.
Second, Torrez says they’ve focused prosecution on the worst of the worst. More recently, The DA’s Office targeted 114 accused criminals who were responsible for 526 cases.
“Three-quarters of those have already been convicted and sentenced, and the other quarter are pending sentencing,” said Torrez.
Torrez says the goal now is to keep it up, which will take more money, more prosecutors and more time.
“Hopefully we’ll be able to continue this work going forward,” said Torrez.
To view Torrez’s Office’s full report, click here.