Snake oil from Medina and Keller
By Dan Klein
Albuquerque’s crime tsunami continues to roll over the city, unabated for the last decade, but wait there is hope on the horizon from an old timer APD commander who says he has discovered the fountain of youth for crime.
Interim APD Chief Harold Medina announced to the citizens of Albuquerque that he has found a connection between crime and drugs! Holy crap Batman! This is a startling revelation! Except that it’s not. Criminal justice researchers have known for decades about the connection between drugs (alcohol included) and crime. This is nothing new, yet Medina tries to sell this “new” concept like a snake-oil spokesman, trying to get uneducated and uninformed Albuquerque citizens to buy into this BS like he just discovered something new.
It seems that the Albuquerque Police Department and Mayor Tim Keller's administration mayoral have been caught up in a virtual Ground Hog Day. Medina and Keller are just the newest example of officials who are out of ideas on how to address our crime epidemic. So what do they do? They restate decades-old knowledge about crime as something they have just figured out. Albuquerque deserves better.
I urge the readers of this column to pick up Criminal Violence, Criminal Justice (1978) by Charles Silberman. When I studied criminal justice in college in 1980, this was required reading. Of the many crime studies it quotes from many years of research, one is that drugs and alcohol use fuel crime. That was 1978. So why are Keller and Medina just now figuring it out? Because Medina wants to be the permanent chief and Keller wants to be re-elected as mayor, and they both believe that the citizens are stupid.
I don’t doubt that Keller's and Medina’s hearts are in the right place. I am positive they both want a safer Albuquerque. I am also positive that they both have no clue about how to get a safer Albuquerque. Medina has been with APD since 1995, yet he just now is figuring out one of the most basic criminal justice concepts! Keller has been mayor for three years now, with a promise of lowering crime, getting the DOJ out of town and increasing APD to well over 1,000 officers. None of these promises have been kept.
This is why we need a new police chief from outside and why we need a new mayor. It’s not that Medina and Keller are bad, horrible people (Mike Geier will disagree), but they have been given their chance and they have FAILED.