• Gregory Z. Smith


Updated: Jul 29, 2019

Vision - Crime Reduction

We see crime statistics or hear about a recent increase in shootings, and it can seem like our community is suddenly less safe than it was. We still live in a pretty safe place in Las Cruces, but there is work to be done.

Briefly, here is a list of improvements I believe have been made since I've been on the Las Cruces City Council, all of which I've advocated:

* State of the art 9-1-1 call facility - Mesilla Valley Regional Dispatch Authority (MVRDA)

* Equipping our officers with body cameras

* Increasing memory capacity to accommodate body camera videos

* Crisis Intervention Training (CIT)

* Non-lethal devices (Tazers, bean-bag guns, etc.) to reduce officer involved shootings

* Community Policing

* Police Aides

* Asking our New Mexico legislators to address school safety

There are also efforts for which I've advocated that are still developing:

* Treating drug (including alcohol) abuse as a health issue, if possible, before treating it as a crime

* Improving the availability of behavioral health, psychiatric, and psychological services in our area

* Getting a crime lab in the southern part of New Mexico

* Hiring more police officers

It is generally understood that improved economic conditions tend to mean reduced crime statistics; so, our efforts in diversifying our economy should also benefit our efforts to reduce crime. However, we can also be proactive about making sure our young people have a variety of activities available for them to enjoy when they have free time, and we can be proactive about ensuring they have work and training opportunities to gainfully engage them when they are out of school.

Similar opportunities can be proactively developed to help those who've found themselves unemployed and even homeless, such as the Mano y Mano program. I have long admired what was done with the Civilian Conservation Corps and Works Progress Administration (WPA) programs eighty years ago, and we are working on developing similar programs in Las Cruces.

Generally, though, I want to keep working on ours being the kind of community where we simply see each other as friends, family, and neighbors: people we help when we know there are difficulties. With that kind of culture in our community, we are more likely to look for opportunities to build each other up rather than tear each other down.

With that kind of culture we are less likely to see crime as an option and more likely to find positive ways to get what we need and share what we have.

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