ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The number of homicides in Albuquerque so far this year already matches the total number of murders in 2015.
The Albuquerque Journal reports (http://bit.ly/2ck4FMi ) that 2015 was the deadliest year in the city since 2009, but this year is on track to be worse. Albuquerque Police Department detectives have investigated 46 homicides thus far in Albuquerque, the total for all of last year.
The Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office did not provide the number of homicides it has investigated so far this year.
If homicides continue at the current rate, 2016 will see more homicides than it has since 1996, when the number hit 70.
Mayor Richard Berry said he has been talking with politicians and leaders of other cities about how to address the number.
“Many cities saw a spike, but there’s not a lot of consensus nationally on what should be done,” he said. “I’m working to engage in conversations nationally so we can learn lessons from other cities.”
Chicago has had more than 500 homicides this year, exceeding its total for last year. Baltimore has had 218 thus far in 2016 and 344 total last year.
El Paso, a similar-size city to Albuquerque, has seen only 12 murders this year and 17 all of last year.
Both Berry and the police department blame violent “career criminals” for the uptick in deaths.
APD spokeswoman Celina Espinoza said it is hard to predict when violent crimes will occur and therefore it’s hard to know if there is a trend.
“Violent crimes are crimes of passion and not something where trends are easily extrapolated,” she said.
Espinoza said that despite the city’s homicide total, detectives have a strong clearance rate.
“This far exceeds the national standard, and speaks to the diligence and talent of these detectives,” she said.
Information from: Albuquerque Journal, http://www.abqjournal.com