Albuquerque Struggles With Officer Killing, High Violent Crime Rate


Even by Albuquerque, N.M.’s recent standards, the past 10 days have been especially dark, says the Wall Street Journal. Last week, a 4-year-old girl traveling with her father in a pickup truck was shot and killed by an angry driver in a road-rage incident. A day later, a policeman was shot during a traffic stop—the third officer shot this year in this city of 550,000. Yesterday, officer Daniel Webster, a decorated eight-year veteran, died from his wounds. Violent crime in New Mexico's largest city reached a five-year high in 2014, and the past several days of mayhem spurred a new outcry among city leaders and citizens, with politicians, prosecutors and police pointing fingers over whom to blame.

“It has been a difficult week in Albuquerque,” Mayor Richard Berry said last week. “I've seen one too many officers wheeled down the hallway on a bloody gurney. I'm tired of it.” The Albuquerque Police Officers Association, which represents the majority of the force, says the city desperately needs more officers to keep both citizens and police safe. The agency is operating under a U.S. Justice Department reform agreement after officers were involved in 20 fatal shootings between 2009 and 2012, a rate comparable to much larger cities. Violent crime rose 14 percent lasts year, and Albuquerque's rate is above the average of similarly sized cities. Its 2014 murder rate was still well below that of cities like Baltimore, but it is creeping up. Last year, there were 30 murders; as of yesterday, there had been 39 this year.

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