Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

City council updated on crime statistics, leadership academy, El Paseo Solano revitalization

Report from the City of Las Cruces

Las Cruces City Council was briefed on the city’s Las Cruces Police Department (LCPD) and Neighborhood Leadership Academy (NLA) at its November 8th working session. The council also received a report from city officials on the El Paseo-South Solano Corridor ad hoc committee.

The LCPD update provided statistics through the third quarter of 2021, which ended in September.

The council was informed that the LCPD currently has 172 commissioned officers as of the end of September. The police department has 202 authorized bodies. The 51st LCPD Academy begins in January 2022, and the LCPD administration has set a goal of enrolling 25-30 cadets.

The council also learned that the LCPD responded to 103,671 service calls from January to September 2021; 20,715 incident reports were submitted; By the end of September, 502 reports had been received online.

Other notable details that LCPD shared with the council are:

  • The number of robberies rose 61 percent, from 36 in 2020 to 58 between January 1 and September 1. 30, 2021.
  • The total number of violent crimes – including criminal homicides, sexual assault, robbery and aggravated assault – rose 22 percent, from 433 incidents in 2020 to 529 between January 1 and September. 30th
  • Total property crime, including break-ins, car break-ins, capital theft, vehicle theft, and arson, is relatively unchanged from 2020 through the first nine months of 2021.
  • The number of thefts increased by 117 percent last year, from 140 in 2020 to 304 from January 1 to September. 30th
  • Home burglaries have decreased by 26 percent, from 214 in 2020 to 159 between January 1 and September 1. 30th
  • Burglary in non-residential buildings has decreased by 22 percent and commercial burglary by 21 percent in 2021.
  • Metro Narcotics has seized 105.7 pounds of methamphetamine, 23.2 pounds of cocaine, 10,399 fentanyl pills, one pound of heroin, and 389 firearms so far in 2021.

There is much more training for LCPD officers than the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy. The LCPD’s 50th Academy cadets received 1,081 hours of training, compared with 677 hours at the state Law Enforcement Academy (LEA). The training in the correct handling of firearms in the 50th LCPD Academy lasted 136.5 hours, while the LEA provided 68 hours.

The NLA update informed city council members of efforts to continue the program, taking into account the ongoing effects of the pandemic. The NLA started in 2017 and lasted until March 2020 when the pandemic forced them to take a break.

The NLA provides enhanced knowledge of the city government to help residents become effective neighborhood advocates and community leaders, according to the city’s community engagement office. NLA was offered in five semesters, 130 residents took part in the program. The NLA’s goals are to build pride and understanding of city government operations; Promotion of civic engagement and development of neighborhood and community leaders.

The next steps for NLA programming include: a la carte courses, tours, and access for the next levels; Bridging the digital divide; Offer of NLA versions for adults and young people of middle and higher school age; Creation of shadowing and mentoring opportunities for adults and young people; Establishment of ambassador status for NLA alumni; and growing active neighborhood groups and identification of residents who complete the NLA.

The El Paseo-South Solano Corridor ad hoc committee met monthly from December 2020 to August 2021 to review city policy regarding revitalization and conservation activities and efforts to create and maintain vibrant mixed-use corridors and residential areas in boroughs 2, 3 and . check 4 south of Las Cruces. Particular attention was paid to the El Paseo Road and South Solano Drive corridors.

After reviewing current conditions and city policies, the committee approved nine proposed strategies that could trigger a revitalization. These strategies were approved by city council members on November 8th.

With informal approval by the council, the next steps are to take the recommendations and incorporate them into the city’s strategic plan, capital improvement program and future city budgets.

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