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.

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Each week that goes by, Albuquerque continues to set a new record for homicides, having already broken the homicide record from 2019. According to the city’s website, there have been 77 homicides and 81 homicide victims as of Aug. 16. Despite the wave of violent crime, the number of updates on homicide investigations provided by the Albuquerque Police Department has not significantly increased.

To date APD has been more transparent than other police departments in the state. The Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office has been accused of failing to provide updates and, in one case, failing to even report a homicide to the public. Mayoral candidate Manny Gonzales campaigned on increasing transparency within the department, but The Albuquerque Journal reported earlier this year that the BCSO failed to report a homicide to the public until six weeks after it happened.

Albuquerque’s spike in homicides has many concerned that the APD might take the same path as BSCO. The Paper. spoke to APD’s Director of Communications Gilbert Gallegos about the issue and why APD may not provide instant updates on every homicide. 

“We usually provide initial information in a timely manner to alert the public that APD is investigating a homicide,” Gallegos said. “That initial information is often based on what was called in to police and what police may know upon arrival. So we try to be careful about what we report out, because it can and often does change after some investigation.”

Gallegos says, after a preliminary investigation by detectives, APD may have additional information that detectives are willing to release to the public. He says they are also working with the Office of the Medical Investigator to finish its work on a crime scene. “Sometimes we’re waiting on the cause of death, and even if we do know, detectives may not want to release that information. The public information is very much dependent on the investigation.”

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