ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – Albuquerque City Council says enough is enough when it comes to gun crimes. Now they are calling on judges to impose stricter sentences – and calling on state lawmakers to tighten sentences for people who use guns to commit crimes.
The council says criminals with substantial prison terms must be held accountable for using a weapon in a crime, and some leaders agree. However, they say they need the help of prosecutors, judges, and state lawmakers to make this happen.
“I think we have to use every tool in the toolbox,” said Council President Cynthia Borrego. “I think our laws have to be strong and let the criminals know that they can’t just go out and commit one crime and go home and go back and commit another crime.”
Borrego says she worked with Albuquerque police to create a memorial calling on prosecutors to call for longer sentences for those who use guns to commit crimes and for judges to impose tougher sentences. She too often says criminals know how to use the system, so lawmakers need to pass laws with more severe penalties and fill loopholes in existing laws.
“We need to make sure we tighten those loose ends as much as possible,” said Borrego. “If the laws aren’t strong enough or our probation system isn’t working properly, we need to find these loopholes.”
The proposed memorial for the city council cites the crime wave that hit the city and highlights cases where police officers have been shot dead by convicted felons. Borrego says they also want a 24/7 GPS surveillance system put in place for suspects awaiting trial and those on parole – and for police to be notified immediately if they break the rules.
State Rep. Moe Maestas says he’s on board with this idea. “We have to provide the resources,” said Rep. Maestas. “In Santa Fe we are ready to adequately finance the GPS monitoring system here.”
However, after the Democrats in the House of Representatives announced a comprehensive crime package that did not include lengthy sentences, Maestas says more can be done with the laws currently on the books. “The judge has several years to convict a person and violent criminals must impose the toughest sentences,” said MP Maestas.
If passed, the city would send the memorial to every state legislature in Albuquerque, as well as to House and Senate leaders. The city council will examine the memorial during the Wednesday afternoon session, which is scheduled for 3 p.m.