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#abq4ward: Candidates reveal ideas to tackle auto theft in Albuquerque

KOB.com Web Staff
October 02, 2017 09:04 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- At the #abq4ward Town Hall, voters had the chance to ask candidates many of the questions on their minds. KOB4 is working to get responses to many of the questions that did not make television that night. Here is how candidates answered one of them.

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QUESTION: Albuquerque has incredibly high amounts of auto theft.  Members of our group want to feel like they can park their cars anywhere without fear of their belongings or the car itself being stolen.  As mayor, what would be your solution to decreasing auto theft?

The answers from the candidates are printed verbatim as they provided them.

CANDIDATE RESPONSES, ALPHABETICALLY BY LAST NAME:

BRIAN COLÓN

Albuquerque has incredibly high amounts of auto theft.  Members of our group want to feel like they can park their cars anywhere without fear of their belongings or the car itself being stolen.  As mayor, what would be your solution to decreasing auto theft?

To decrease auto theft in Albuquerque, we must fully support the APD Auto Theft Unit.  This requires reorganizing the unit, providing a designated attorney and assigning police officers to immediately investigate and prosecute car thefts throughout the city. The APD Auto Theft Unit must be provided with the leadership, vision, and tools needed to fight car theft through the marshalling of all requisite law enforcement manpower and resources to target areas of the city most afflicted with car theft.  

Car thefts and car crimes can also be addressed through a concerted community effort. The APD Auto Theft Unit and supporting units will consistently hold public meetings, and the Colón Administration will spearhead a community-wide response incorporating local businesses, agencies, and public service organizations to address the underlying community problems leading to car thefts. Effective Safe City, Smart City strategies to prevent car thefts and crimes include improving supervision of parking facilities, improving lighting of public streets and parking facilities, increasing use of parking attendants and security patrols, adding electronic gates at entrances and exits of parking facilities and controlling access into and out of parking facilities. Other strategies include changing vulnerable aspects of theft locations, the creation of community education programs promoting the use of steering column locks, kill switches, brake pedal locks, or other security devices and introducing bike patrols with a primary focus on preventing car thefts and car crimes.

Learn more: https://www.colonformayor.com/

MICHELLE GARCIA HOLMES

My entire Crime Impact Program is posted at Michelle4mayor.org

“No time for a learning curve in combatting our crime issues, it is crucial right now that we have a crime fighter in the mayor’s office.  I have more experience in the criminal justice arena than all the candidates combined.  I have been endorsed by Former Chief’s Joseph Polisar and Jim Lehner, as well as Sabina Webster, slain officer Daniel Webster’s mother.”  -Michelle Garcia Holmes

Albuquerque is No. 1 in the nation for Auto Theft.  My 13-page Crime Impact Program focuses heavily on combating auto theft because I know, having been an Auto Theft Detective, that this crime leads to other crimes in our city, like burglary, robbery, and narcotics associated crimes. These auto thieves are the repeat offenders in the system.

I will reinstate the Albuquerque Regional Auto Theft Team (ARATT). (In the late 90’s this team cut Auto Thefts by 30%.)  The Team will be a collaborative effort and have members assigned from all the Metro Law enforcement agencies who wish to participate, including the District Attorney’s offices and a representative from the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

I will be seeking a new state statute allowing finger print and/or DNA evidence found inside stolen cars to be acceptable probable cause to make an arrest.  This change will give law enforcement another tool to fight auto theft.   Evidence and stolen property found in recovered vehicles must be processed appropriately and every effort must be made to return stolen property back to the rightful owner.

We must act now, last night the District Attorney stated he is underfunded by 6 million dollars and cannot ensure criminals are prosecuted.  The city budget allocated funds for a special prosecutor for Sex Offenses, I will allocate funds for prosecution for repeat offenders.   I will ensure funds are allocated to the District Attorney’s office so the same repeat offenders are taken off our streets. We must stop the revolving door and timely prosecution will do this.

Learn more: http:/ /www.michelle4mayor.org/

WAYNE JOHNSON

The metro area leads the nation in auto thefts. We need to take a regional approach to dealing with it so that we can root out the entire problem not just move it around. I'll create a regional task force including the FBI and metro area law enforcement partners to specifically target auto theft and other crimes that plague our metro area in order to get these thugs off of our streets and into prisons where they belong. We'll also use the federal court system whenever possible to bypass our dysfunctional courts that have prioritized pre-trial release over public safety. We must also narrow the scope of the CASA consent decree and take the handcuffs off of our police department so that they can effectively fight crime and keep us all safe.

Learn more: http://votewaynejohnson.com/

TIM KELLER

Editor's note: Tim Keller provided a video response. Click here for more.

Learn more: http://www.tk4abq.com/

DAN LEWIS

Fully Staff and Back the Albuquerque Police Department

  • Higher Pay. It should be no surprise that jumps in ABQ’s crime rates have swelled at the same time the number of trained police officers protecting our streets have dramatically decreased. A fully staffed APD begins with aggressively increasing base pay for first-year officers, officers at 5+ years, and Sergeants and Lieutenants. I will immediately propose a $15 million dollar increase to APD for officer pay and begin negotiations with the ABQ Police Officers Association. We will work to keep veteran officers from retiring before 20 years and give good veteran officers the incentive to complete 25 years of service.
  • Lateral Hires. We will implement an immediate recruiting surge to hire the best lateral officers from around the nation. APD has one of the best-funded and most generous pensions in the nation in PERA. Many good officers nationwide are losing their pensions. The Dallas Police Department, as just one example, is losing hundreds of officers because their retirement system is failing. Among many other qualified candidates, we will recruit the best of Dallas’ officers to come to Albuquerque, much like the Austin, TX Police Department did when they recruited about one hundred Memphis, TN officers in less than a year because their pensions were significantly cut.  With the help of signing bonuses, we will recruit only the best of these officers to attend a lateral academy and quickly have them protecting the streets of Albuquerque. 
  • First-Year Hires. We will continue the current, effective recruiting of new officers with offers that include incentives such as signing bonuses, student loan assistance, and help with home down-payments.
  • Neighborhood Presence. I will ensure that at least 60% of APD’s sworn officers are dedicated to patrolling our neighborhoods. Officers in marked units will be visible in every neighborhood responding promptly to calls. 
  • More Detectives.
    • I will ensure that at least 30% of APD’s sworn officers staff the detective bureau. Without exception, Detectives must be working cases and regularly testifying in court to justify their position.
    • We will boost staffing in our auto theft unit.
  • More Police Cruisers. Every uniformed officer (911 first responders in all ranks) will be provided a fully marked and equipped police vehicle.  
  • Zero Tolerance. There will not be a mandatory quota for tickets, but we will demand strict enforcement of all traffic violations, including aggressive and reckless driving, speeding, tailgating, running red lights and stop signs, and driving under the influence . Uniform officers will be writing deserved citations.
  • Enhanced Support Staff. APD will increase civilian support staff so sworn officers have the professional assistance they need when they need it.

Learn more: http://www.lewisabq.com/

GUS PEDROTTY

Our public safety situation is in such need of overhaul that the changes required in the next administration will affect all issues all at once and hopefully tremendously - it is impossible to address only auto-theft, and we can't only talk about auto-theft without talking about crime comprehensively. First off, so much of our emergency infrastructure response goes towards things that we should have more efficient lines of service for. By streamlining how services are rendered and provided, we can reduce strain on emergency utilities. A change to the model in this way would provide better access to services already in our city for at-risk communities, as well as allow for overworked police officers to spend more time working against auto-theft, property, and violent crime, and as community role models. Organized crime and auto-theft will be engaged with specifically, and we’ll correctly support officers in being proactive in auto-theft hot spots. To reduce burglaries and theft unrelated to organized crime, we need to create better opportunities for our community. This goes hand in hand with new economic plans that have low barriers to employment and provide living wages. As we increase economic opportunity and commitment to utilities important in our community, we will also create a city that is more interesting and easy to be passionate about.

Learn more: http://www.gusformayor.com/

SUSAN WHEELER-DEICHSEL

Editor's note: Susan Wheeler-Deichsel did not specifically answer this question, but rather discussed the challenges of running a small grassroots campaign without a staff.

Learn more: https://susanforabq.com/

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KOB.com Web Staff

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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