Culture of Violence: Police Brutality and Street Crime
Some of the biggest news stories of 2016 centered around horrific violent crimes, on top of the usual crime that is so pervasive in some areas it seems to define certain neighborhoods. Our state had the second-highest violent crime rate last year, according to the FBI. Meanwhile, the police killings and brutality of past years have left a legacy of mistrust and fear, fueling the crime in the streets and undermining public safety. Albuquerque has a reputation for violence that hurts our ability to become the town we want to be, and more importantly, makes us feel unsafe in our own city.
Poverty creates violence, not the other way around. It is a lack of oversight and our leaders’ refusal to take responsibility that has led to the APD’s problems. It’s not just that the current administration has failed to follow the Department of Justice’s recommendations, it’s that the DOJ should never have needed to step in in the first place. In the four years since activists like Stella Padilla fought to have the DOJ intervene, the city has only reached 18% compliance with the recommendations. Taxpayers pay a million dollars for a federal monitor that our leaders have shown no intent to listen to – money that could be spent elsewhere if we had a government that was willing to properly train and oversee its police force. The “downward pressure of accountability” that federal monitor James Ginger has called for needs to come from the top office in our city, the mayor.
A healthy government for Albuquerque would mean public safety that people trust. A healthy government can attract the jobs our citizens need and provide the help that is missing in our most dysfunctional neighborhoods. Stella Padilla holds herself accountable to the people of Albuquerque, and that’s why she is the best qualified to hold our government accountable to us as well.