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New Mexico Joins Retail Crime-Tracking Platform

Business and political leaders frustrated by what they say are barriers to reducing organized retail theft have enrolled New Mexico in a 20-state data-sharing network, the Albuquerque Journal reports. The network, called Auror, enables businesses and law enforcement to track organized retail theft in real time with online sharing of security video, cellphone images and other information. Attorney General Hector Balderas estimated that organized retail crime costs New Mexico $1 billion a year. “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 Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller and other business and law enforcement leaders. “Organized retail criminals are at the very top of the food chain.”

Business and political leaders used the press conference announcing the initiative as an opportunity to vent frustration with the criminal justice system and scarce funding for fighting retail crime. “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.” Rob Black, president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, said the initiative, New Mexico Organized Crime Association, will use artificial intelligence “for predictive analysis based on patterns of when and where crimes are happening.” Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina said the state needs more police officers and prosecutors, and the courts need more options for punishing retail thieves. State legislation that called for stronger penalties for retail theft died in committee during the regular session this year.


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