February 5, 2023

SANTA FE — Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham raised concerns about organized retail crime and announced the creation of a new Public Safety Council composed of business leaders from across the state.

“Nobody knows what’s going on better than the business community about the risks in your storefronts, your communities,” Lujan Grisham told an audience of businesspeople during an event Tuesday organized by the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce.

The governor then said during a news briefing Wednesday that she was establishing the Business Public Safety Council due to widespread business concerns about crime.

She said Steve Chavez, the majority owner of Mesa del Sol, would chair the council, but didn’t immediately provide details on how the council would work.

Chavez told the Journal that the council plans to submit monthly reports to the governor based on discussions with the business community.

Before being appointed head of the council, Chavez was involved in the Hispano Chamber of Commerce’s crime-fighting efforts. He said as a New Mexico business owner, he, his employees and his colleagues were all affected by crime in the community.

“I have several stores across New Mexico,” Chavez said. “…We are affected by this. Many of my colleagues are affected by this.”

Chavez said a full list of council members will be released next week. At this point, he and the governor have spoken to about eight business leaders across the state and hope to form a council of 12 to 15 members.

The Governor also took the opportunity during the press conference to invite New Mexico Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Rob Black, who was present at the event, to join the fledgling council.

Black told the Journal that he would be interested in joining the council.

“If there’s a role for me, I’m happy to do it,” Black said.

A spokeswoman for Lujan Grisham said the council will work with businesses across the state to assess how crime affects them. This information could then be used to assist efforts to pass new state legislation.

Chavez said the council’s first priority is researching and complying with public safety laws.

“I think we can really move the needle by…working together,” Chavez said. “I really think there will be bipartisan support on some of these bills.”

In addition, the Business Advisory Council for Crime Reduction will work with law enforcement, court officials and government agencies to educate business owners about government efforts to curb retail crime, said Nora Meyers Sackett, spokeswoman for Lujan Grisham.

Meanwhile, the new council could also build on the work of the New Mexico Organized Retail Crime Association, a group formed by the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce last fall to allow business owners and law enforcement agencies to share information about retail crime across the state.

“We’ve been very active in trying to build that network,” Black said. “I think what the governor is trying to do is take that to a higher level.”

The governor is calling for a bipartisan, phased approach to addressing NM’s high rate of violent crime

SANTA FE — In the early stages of this year’s 60-day legislative session, Governor Michelle…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *