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Metro area crime leaders unveil new ‘Case Catcher’ tool

By Angel Salcedo

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    ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico (KOAT) — Now more than ever, data and technology are being used by law enforcement agencies.

Terri Cole is the president of the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce.

“We’re working on expanded use of technology and data to strategically fight crime. A growing economy depends in large part on having a safe community,” Cole said.

From 2021 to 2022, Albuquerque police reported a 3.5% decrease in crimes against people and a 2.2% decrease in crimes against property.

Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office is also analyzing these trends. They’ve seen a 4.5% decrease in crimes against society this year compared to last but a 12.5% jump in crimes against people. Now enter ‘Case Catcher.’ It’s a tool created from the combined effort of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County crime leaders.

“The tool allows the DA’s office to easily assess the completeness and the quality of a referred criminal case,” said Scott Darnell.

It allows officers and deputies to upload evidence and criminal cases online directly to the district attorney’s office. It essentially serves as a highway for information.

“We’re really trying to get every single piece of discovery into Case Catcher rather than having them in disparate places across the agencies,” said Maggie Newman.

Once that data is uploaded, it’s accessible by those agencies and investigators.

“The DA’s Office prosecutors will be able to share discoveries straight out of Case Catcher with opposing counsel, with expert witnesses, with whoever needs to get that discovery,” Newman said.

“When a case goes over to the DA’s office, they can see on the single screen what they have, what will we expect to still get, and what won’t we have on that particular case,” said Darnell.

The tool will also create a police prosecutor team for each case. It’s been in the works for three years and was finished in April 2023.

Leaders also say that prosecutors spend 50% of their time in court arguing the discovery of evidence. They hope this tool will improve transparency and reduce those arguments.

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