Albuquerque police are asking residents of the Northeast Heights area to keep working with them to make neighborhoods safe.
As they do in meetings around the city, APD officers used a Sept. 12 meeting of the Northeast Area Community Policing Council to offer crime prevention tips and give residents a chance to ask questions.
At one point, tempers flared when a man in the audience complained the police were not actively apprehending burglars and thieves, and weren’t providing enough information in response to neighborhood concerns.
Lt. David Saladen said APD is doing the best it can and that officers do log apprehensions — but they don’t have the data available to the public at all times.
(The angry resident left the meeting early and was unavailable for an interview.)
Lt. Saladen said the new Police and Community Initiative (PAC) is part of an on-going reform plan at APD.
“Without a relationship between us (the police) and our communities, there is no chance for us to fight crime, there is no opportunity for us to prevent crime and there is no way for us to help deter crime in this city,” Saladen said.
APD is under a court-monitored reform plan that was implemented by the City of Albuquerque and the U.S. Department of Justice following a 2014 DOJ investigation that found excessive use of force on the part of APD. The reforms include measures to improve relations between the police and the community.
There are six Community Policing Councils now holding meetings like this one around the city.
The meeting emphasized crime prevention measures, such as deterrence against home burglaries.
“There are home security systems, yes,” said Saladen. “Though there are other alternatives such as apps that get you in touch with your neighbors, and even adding a screen or metal door in front of your front door helps.”
Guest speakers included Sgt. Josh Brown of the Auto-Theft Unit and Detective Adam Perea with the Armed Robbery Unit.
Sgt. Brown said vehicle thefts can be thwarted by using tracking systems placed into the vehicle at most auto-shops. These then allow the best way to locate a vehicle that has been stolen.
Brown said car theft is on the rise not only in the North East area of Albuquerque, but all throughout the city.
“Albuquerque is number one in car-thefts in the nation, as of this year,” Brown claims that this is ultimately due to the drug abuse around the city.
Brown said Chevy, Ford and Dodge trucks are among the most targeted vehicles in auto thefts due to the demand for parts such as the engine, brakes and tires.
Brown says there are two types of car thieves in Albuquerque, those who are addicted to opiates (heroin, meth), and those that are working for professionals, such as the mexican cartel or other ‘businesses’ that target specific makes and models of cars in order to attain certain parts that cost money or are considered ‘rare.’
Senior Detective Adam Perea was last to speak and he talked about his expertise in the Armed Robbery Unit.
Perea says when a case comes through his unit he is responsible for creating a strong case and achieve a solid conviction.
“The longer we put them in prison and the better case we put together, it ultimately leads to years with them off the street, not committing crimes,” Perea said.
Although the meeting was held in the Northeast area, most of APD’s comments were about Albuquerque as a whole, and how they are responding to issues in general.
The Community Policing Council Meetings take place once a month at five other area commands, Northwest, Southeast, Southwest and Westside location.
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