Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $175,450)
The New Mexico Department of Public Safety (NMDPS) is seeking $179,077 in federal funding for the 2022 Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN)– with the United States Attorney’s Office, District of New Mexico (USAO D-NM).
The purpose of the project is to reduce violent crime, with a focus on gun crimes, in the greater Albuquerque metropolitan area, which is New Mexico’s largest population center. In 2021, the PSN team expanded our PSN Targeted Enforcement Area (TEA) from one quadrant of the City of Albuquerque to encompass the greater metropolitan area, as violent crime is ubiquitous throughout the metropolitan area, even though some parts of Albuquerque do experience consistently higher incidences of violence than other areas.
The PSN TEA historically has been plagued by an outsized number of violent crimes. While most of the country was enjoying downturns in violent crime for the third consecutive year in 2020, the District of New Mexico (DNM) never enjoyed such a respite. Instead, by 2019, the FBI’s UCR revealed that Albuquerque had an overall violent crime rate that was 3.7 times the national average, and an aggravated assault rate that was four times the national average. Between 2018 and 2021, weapons law violations increased by 218%. In 2021, as violent crime continued to spike across the country, the city recorded 112 homicide cases (with 116 victims). In May 2022, the Albuquerque Journal further reported that the homicide clearance rate for the APD was 65% in 2019, 60% in 2020, and 53% in 2021. Although the APD appears to be improving its clearance rate in 2022, as of June 30, 2022, APD recorded 58 homicide cases (63 victims), on pace to match 2021. The surge in murders undoubtedly has only made it much more challenging for the fully taxed APD homicide division. Therefore, the PSN TEA is a logical choice for concentrated and sustained law enforcement crime fighting efforts, and in great need of a comprehensive violent crime reduction effort.
Success will be measured by creating and maintaining strong and stable working partnerships with federal, state and local stakeholders in an “all tools” approach to reducing violence, with the ultimate goal of establishing lasting and statistically significant reductions in gun homicides and non-fatal shootings. The USAO’s PSN program has three main components: (1) data-informed decision-making, (2) targeted enforcement efforts, and (3) targeted deterrence and intervention. PSN FY2022 funds will support the first and third components.