New Mexico public safety, judiciary seek more money

Nov 14, 2017

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's public safety and judicial officials are seeking budget increases for the next fiscal year as crime rates remain high. The Legislative Finance Committee is hearing this week from the agencies as the panel prepares to craft spending priorities ahead of the next legislative session in January. Committee officials noted that New Mexico in 2016 had the second highest rate for violent crime in the Unites States and the highest property crime rate among states. The state's overall crime rate also has exceeded the regional average for almost a decade. District attorneys statewide are seeking the largest increase — about $11.7 million or a nearly 18 percent boost. Public defenders want an 11 percent increase, or about $6.4 million, mostly to fill vacant positions and add staff to handle an increased workload due to pretrial reforms.