- Attorney General Hector Balderas estimated that organized retail crime costs New Mexico $1 billion a year
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A deadly robbery that took the life of an Albuquerque pizzeria owner was the backdrop for an announcement Wednesday that New Mexico is joining a 20-state network to gather data on organized retail crime.
Business and political leaders used a press conference as an opportunity to vent frustration with the criminal justice system and scarce funding for fighting retail crime.
Attorney General Hector Balderas estimated that organized retail crime costs New Mexico $1 billion a year and demands greater attention from legislators in the form of funding and stronger laws.
“It is more profitable now to go and steal from our local retailers than it is to sell drugs and guns in New Mexico,” Balderas said, flanked by Mayor Tim Keller and other business and law enforcement leaders. “Organized retail criminals are at the very top of the food chain.”
Retail crime also is driving increased violence as serial shoplifters have become more brazen and better organized, he said.
“Any one of our retailers, in the middle of broad daylight, can turn into a crime scene,” Balderas said. “We are talking about law enforcement being overwhelmed, employees being overwhelmed, and we’re talking about retailers being overwhelmed.”
Officials called the news conference to announce that New Mexico is joining a 20-state network used by businesses and law enforcement to track criminal activity in real time.
The platform, called the Auror retail crime platform, offers an online platform that allows retailers to quickly share security video, cellphone images and other information with law enforcement.
Rob Black, president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, said the initiative – called the New Mexico Organized Crime Association – will allow statewide and multi-state sharing of crime data.