Justin Schatz is The Paper's daily news reporter. He has reported on New Mexico for KRQE News, Searchlight NM and the Santa Fe Reporter.

Albuquerque Police (APD) assist US Marshals with arrests, "OTB Albuquerque-66" by U.S. Marshals Service is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Albuquerque Police Department has been taking a more proactive approach to policing in the wake of a record-breaking year for crime. This comes just as four APD officers were shot after responding to a robbery call on Juan Tabo Blvd. NE on Thursday. APD has began a crime initiative in the Southeast Heights, focusing on the Central and Tramway area. The initiative will increase police presence in the area to combat violent crime, a chronic problem for the neighborhood. 

A similar operation was conducted by APD earlier this year along the Montgomery corridor. The operation was deemed a success by APD, and the department has decided to expand this effort to other areas of the city suffering from elevated crime levels. 

During the Montgomery Operation, which lasted from March 27 to May 22, APD conducted 181 periodic watches, 65 non-enforcement contacts, five organized outreach events, issued 21 citations, made two misdemeanor arrests, four felony arrests and two criminal summons. The operation focused on increasing police presence in high-crime areas and community outreach. 

“Having a large police presence in an area that has recently seen violent crime spike will. without a doubt. deter these incidents from occurring,” APD Chief Harold Medina said. “Moving forward, we are using this as a citywide model to make solid contacts with our citizens, prevent crime and focus on community policing.”

APD Director of Communications Gilbert Gallegos said, “This operation like the Montgomery Op will last 60 days and is targeting any crime occurring in the area, not just violent crime. During the Montgomery Operation, there were no homicides in that area, only one shooting with injuries which was related to a domestic dispute. 14 outreach events were conducted with every apartment complex in that stretch of the city. Violence intervention materials were handed out daily, officers patrolled the area increasing their presence, made contacts with individuals and did outreach with residents who had been impacted by crimes prior to the operation starting.”

APD recently met with the Foothills Community Policing Council (CPC), who voiced concerns about rising crime rates during the meeting. The department says they are working with the group about ways to prevent crime and be more engaged with the community.