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Mayor Keller Highlights Violence Intervention Plan

New Division at APD, Prosecutors and Social Service Providers Form Partnership to Reduce Violent Crime.

November 22, 2019

Today, Mayor Tim Keller unveiled the Violence Intervention Program that APD has been developing since last spring. The VIP is an innovative effort to proactively interrupt the cycle of violent crime in Albuquerque.

The VIP is a partnership system that includes law enforcement, prosecutors and social service and community providers to address and reduce violent crime.

“This is a first-of-its-kind program for Albuquerque that pairs law enforcement and public health -- working together to put the drivers of violent crime behind bars while creating paths away from violence for those who are not yet drawn into the cycle of violence or are looking for a way out,” Mayor Keller said.

The program focuses on both offenders and victims. Victims of violent crime are more likely to be a victim again, and are more likely to be offenders of other violent crimes. In Albuquerque, the age ranges of the vast majority of offenders and victims of homicide are under 21 and in the 21-25 age range. Of homicides involving guns, over 30% happen in connection to a dispute between people who know each other.

“We looked at similar programs in other cities and are tailoring this one to meet Albuquerque’s unique needs,” said Chief of Police Michael Geier. “We are breaking down the silos between investigative units and created the Violence Intervention Division with a commander, field officers, undercover detectives, the intelligence unit, forensic techs, crime analysts, and victim advocates.”

“This is not an either/or situation,” Mayor Keller said. “We need to find and prosecute the perpetrators of violent crime through strategic law enforcement efforts. We also need to direct services to the people most affected by crime, and those who are ready to break the cycle of violence. Over the past decade, the state dismantled its behavioral health, addiction and treatment system while the City’s police force was decimated. Recovering from factors like these won’t happen overnight. That’s why we’re bringing resolve and determination to this fight and working with our partners for meaningful, lasting results.”

There are four key pieces to the program:

Law enforcement. Restructured APD to create a first-of-its-kind Violence Intervention Division with its own Commander. That division is designed to make cross-functional partnership as productive as possible. APD is removing the silos between investigative units and increasing coordination in the fight against violent crime among field officers, undercover detectives, the intelligence unit, forensic techs, crime analysts and victim advocates. Law enforcement partners on the program include the State Police, Probation and Parole, ATF, DEA, FBI, US Marshal and Homeland Security.

Prosecution Partners: Prosecutors from all systems including the Attorney General, District Attorney, US Attorney and Office of Superintendent of Insurance will collaborate to share information and make sure cases are going to the appropriate teams and courts. Prosecutors and law enforcement partners will also work with analysts from APD’s Real Time Crime Center and the NIBIN and Gun Violence Reduction Units to review shooting incidents on a bi-weekly basis.

Social Services: The City has always funded social services aimed at violence reduction. However, for the first time Family and Community Services is specifically working with the community to identify the most effective evidence-based violence reduction strategies, and requiring providers to work together in the Violence Intervention Program. The administration created a Deputy Director of Health position held by a clinical social worker.

Community Partners: The City is reaching out to community partners, including the Bernalillo County Community Health Council, that are dealing with the causes and effects of violent crime to work together on this program. A technical advisor will lead partnership-based violence reduction efforts to improve police-community trust and sustain the strategy over time.

The City of Albuquerque is requesting that the State Legislature also invest in creating a statewide fund for violence intervention programs and overdue crime-fighting technology modernization to support these efforts.