Neighbors petition to close crime-ridden alley

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – People in one Albuquerque neighborhood are tired of being targeted by burglars so they’re coming together to fight the crime themselves.

“It’s gotten far, far worse,” said Deirdre Gunderson about the crime in the alley that runs between a block of homes between 8th and 9th St SW and Santa Fe Ave SW and Pacific Ave SW.

“Anybody can come in here, climb your back fence and rob your place,” she said.

Whether it’s alarming cases of theft, mysterious piles of trash or suspects looking for a good getaway, alleys often mean bad news.

Gunderson said the alley behind her home is no exception. “Something’s gotta be done.”

She thinks the answer is right in front of her, or rather, across the street.

That is where Antonio Aragon de Barelas lives.

“It is a lot safer. I sleep better at night,” he said.

He said he took it upon himself to put up these gates closing off one end of an alley behind his home. He did that about a year ago.

“Since then, no crime, no through traffic, no people leaving their trash and drugs in the alley as well as syringes,” said Aragon de Barelas.

Now Gunderson wants to the same, with one gate on the side of the alley that opens up to 8th St SW.

She’s trying to get city approval but says without a clear answer so far, she and her neighbors are about to just do it on their own like Aragon.

“It is very confusing, and I don’t know what else to do,” Gunderson said.

The city told News 13 that it doesn’t close off public alleys in case utility crews or garbage trucks need to get through.

However, if all the neighbors agree, they can pay for the land and make the alley private.

Then, they are free to choose how they want to curb crime.

“The residents here want this alleyway closed,” Gunderson said.

She said on Sunday, she caught someone trying to climb up into a neighbor’s backyard through the alley.

Neighbors on that block have signed a petition to put up a gate in the alley, which they plan to take to the city.

To increase security, they are also talking about putting up lights and security cameras.

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