Police, union at odds over crime report numbers

Posted at: 10/30/2012 10:10 PM
Updated at: 10/30/2012 11:49 PM
By: Adam Camp, KOB Eyewitness News

Statistics are always up for interpretation. The new crime stats for Albuquerque are no exception. There is disagreement on how to see why property crime is up by over six percent in Albuquerque, according to a new FBI report.

The Albuquerque Police Officers Association said property crime is up because there are fewer officers on the streets. But Albuquerque Police Department Chief Ray Schultz said there should be more of a focus on the positive technological advances the department is making against those kinds of crimes.

"We very aggressively go after property crime offenders in everything we do, because we know that's the crime that's most likely to affect the average citizen," Schultz said.

APD lists the most wanted property crime offenders throughout Albuquerque, and it has also implemented bait cars to help catch car thieves. APD also sends out crime analysis maps to officers to notify them of the areas in Albuquerque affected by property crime the most. But the APOA president said technology is not enough.

"We know from our own officers and our members talking to us that they feel like they're unable to respond as effectively as they used to for service and as quickly as they used to," Greg Weber said.

APD can staff up to 1,100 officers in the department, but Weber said there is a shortage of over 100 officers. Weber said it is more than just officers on the street that are impacted by the shortage.

"As well as we've heard from detectives who are working the follow-up in all of these cases. Really doing the behind-the-scenes work to reduce that number," he said.

One person in Albuquerque who has been burglarized, both in his home and his car, had his own opinion about adding more officers.

"I think there's not too many places, too many corners where you turn and don't already see a cop," John Lujan said.

The APOA said it planned to work with the city to fix the problem of attrition inside APD. It said another problem is that a large number of officers are eligible to retire at the end of the 2012.

Chief Schultz said following the election next Tuesday, there will be a media blitz of advertising for police recruiting.