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Mayor Tim Keller’s 2023 State of the City: Harnessing the Power of Us to Build a Safe, Thriving City

Celebration features stories from the community, highlights progress, challenges, and opportunities to improve quality of life for people across Albuquerque.

May 20, 2023

Today, Mayor Tim Keller delivered his fifth State of the City address at a community event hosted at the Albuquerque Rail Yards. The gathering brought over 1,000 people together to explore City and community efforts on a range of fronts including public safety, housing and homelessness solutions, programs for youth and families, downtown revitalization, equity and inclusion, economic development, and sustainability. Watch the full speech.

Mayor Keller’s speech was interspersed with stories from people across Albuquerque who have experienced diverse struggles and successes, turning the spotlight on everyday members of the community who are helping shape the future of our city. This year’s remarks were centered around “the power of us,” acknowledging the common values and grit that bond us as Burqueños even as we navigate big challenges and work to build a better future.

Doubling Down on Public Safety that Works for Albuquerque

  • Continued investment in Albuquerque Community Safety so it can move to 24/7 service this year*. The department has already taken over 32,000 calls, getting people the right help and freeing up police officers to focus on violent crime.
  • Meaningful progress in various crime categories, including an 8% reduction in violent crime, 40% reduction in property crime and over 170 murder suspect arrests in the past 17 months.
  • Significantly reduced our response times for the first time in years, reducing response times to priority one calls by an average of one minute and 44 seconds, and improving response times for lower-priority calls, or calls where crimes already occurred and a suspect is no longer present. Those calls went from an average response of one hour and 16 minutes, to just over 21 minutes.
  • Cracking down on guns this summer by triangulating existing restrictions around schools to aggressively target any crime with gun anywhere in downtown*.
  • Ongoing efforts through the Metro Crime Initiative to address dangerous gaps in the criminal justice system.
  • New area command for the University neighborhood and a fully staffed Downtown Substation.
  • Increased technology and resources for police to support crimefighting and help solve cases.
  • Funding to address the warrant backlog to get the most dangerous offenders off our streets.
  • Historic salary increases for police and higher cadet pay to ensure the future of the department.
  • Leveraging a civilian workforce to take over jobs that don’t require a sworn officer, allowing officers to focus on fighting crime.
  • Reached 92% compliance with the settlement agreement, and now moving into the final stages of the decade-long reform journey.

Taking Real Steps to Address Housing and Homelessness

  • Working to meet the city’s housing needs and make use of unutilized properties by converting run down hotels into safe, affordable housing, with over 100 new apartments coming online this year.
  • Proposed zoning changes to encourage development of affordable housing across the city, part of the Housing Forward initiative.
  • Serving 1000 per day at the Gateway Center by year-end, the largest investment our city has ever made in health and homelessness, to provide wrap around services under one roof.
  • Continued efforts to clean up encampments and get people connected to services they need, not allowing large encampments to go unchecked.
  • Enforcing median safety measures this summer on the most dangerous roads to protect both pedestrians and drivers.*
  • Strengthening both enforcement and outreach to create safer communities while getting folks the help that they need.

Improving Quality of Life for People Across our City

  • Nearly doubling the number of dog parks over the next few years. *
  • Expanding pickleball and aquatics facilities.
  • Adding dozens of water fountains and new play equipment at parks.
  • Upgrading and building new community and multi-generational centers: from Loma Linda to San Jose, from Westgate to Singing Arrow and Martineztown.
  • Connecting historic neighborhoods with the Rail Trail, a pedestrian parkway that will create a walkable, vibrant corridor in the heart of Albuquerque.
  • Giving locals access to world-class training for jobs in the film industry at the Rail Yards, the future home of the New Mexico Media Academy.

Honoring the Stories of Real Albuquerque People

  • Announced the launch of the ABQ Stories of Us project, an initiative to rename parks, streets, and community rooms after the people who make our city great. For more information on the project, or to submit a nomination, visit our website.*

*new announcement or initiative coming this year

Quotes from the Remarks:

Taking action to address gun violence in our city. “We are facing the deadliest wave of gun violence in history, and it’s our kids who are paying the highest price. While the state and DC should do more to confront this national epidemic, we can’t wait. And we won’t. This summer, we’re cracking down on guns. We are triangulating existing restrictions around schools to aggressively prosecute any crime with gun anywhere in downtown. Commit a crime with a gun, any crime, we will pursue federal gun charges to get you OFF our streets. We can’t afford to do anything less.”

Investing in crime fighting tools for our officers. “Our investment in modern camera systems, license plate readers and gun-detection technology is driving investigations. That’s how we catch criminals.”

Addressing the housing at all levels. “The story of Albuquerque includes a housing crisis that must addressed. It can be measured not just by the number of unhoused people on the streets, but by a shortage of as many as 30,000 housing units for our fellow residents. We can only meet this demand by building faster and smarter, and by updating outdated and restrictive zoning regulations. It’s time to move Housing Forward and make way for best practices and innovative ideas - like supporting casitas for grandparents and our ‘adult kids’. It’s time to convert run down hotels into housing, and we’re getting started. In fact, our first hotel conversion is under construction right now, with over 100 new apartments coming online.”

Building the Gateway Center, the first facility of its kind in the region. “The Gateway is a comprehensive resource hub that is all about connecting folks to help. It’s about walking with people on their journey to housing and getting them the resources they need; whether it’s help with addiction, a safe place to stay while recovering from surgery, or simply a warm bed to get off the street. Once all phases are complete, the Gateway will be a place of hope, healing and housing that serves over 1,000 people a day.”

Enforcing measures to keep our streets safe. “We clean up hundreds of encampments each month and continue to do everything we can to get people the help they need, but the status quo is just not working. We must ramp up enforcement and make our streets safe. This summer, we are enforcing median safety measures on our most dangerous roads to protect both pedestrians and drivers. ”

Making important investments in quality of life. “Over the next few years, we are nearly doubling the number of dog parks in Albuquerque. We’re expanding pickleball and aquatics facilities, and adding dozens of water fountains and play equipment at our parks. The new Los Altos Softball complex will be open and ready for action this summer. These are the connection points to keep families engaged and enjoying our beautiful city.”

Reflecting on the challenges, the future, and the promise of Albuquerque. “We know that homelessness and crime are afflicting cities across the country, and creating hardship right here at home. But unlike most cities around us who are over extended, being swallowed by their problems—our story is still in progress. We are an unfinished canvas; our story is still alive, and it holds the promise of a brighter future for ourselves, our children and their children’s children.”

Continuing his tradition, the Mayor walked out to some Heavy Metal (#metalmayor), “Prey” by Parkway Drive, a band he introduced on stage, and ended with “Outro” by local hip-hop legend Wake Self.

The address will be airing on local stations at the following times:

  • KOAT 7: Saturday, 5/27, 6:30 –7:00 p.m.
  • KOB 4: Saturday 6/3, 4:00 – 4 :30 p.m.
  • KASY (Ch. 50): Sunday 5/28, 9:00 – 10:00 a.m.
  • NRQE (FOX 2): Sunday 5/28, 10:00 – 11:00 a.m.
  • KWBQ (CW 19:) Sunday 5/28, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.
  • KASA/Telemundo (NBC): Saturday 6/3, 10:00 – 11:00 a.m.