ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s a nice neighborhood, but people who’ve lived on the block for years claim there’s a major problem, and they’re asking the City of Albuquerque to step in.
Neighbors shared story after story of crimes they claim come from just one place. They’ve gotten so fed up, they took it to city councilors Monday night and riled up the room.
“I’ve brought police records just from May,” Priscilla Sanders told Albuquerque city councilors during Monday night’s meeting.
Sanders said it’s a problem that’s been getting worse over the past ten years.
“Prostitution, car theft, robbery,” Sanders said. “It’s relentless.”
Neighbors agree the criminal activity is all coming and going from one home on Dorothy Street in northeast Albuquerque.
“You see the stolen cars coming constantly,” said Sanders.
Sanders and her neighbors pulled records that show APD has responded to calls at the problem home approximately 31 times since May.
“Where do we go, what do we do from here?” An exasperated Sanders asked city councilors. She said the neighborhood has done its due-diligence reporting criminal activity.
“I’m actually your city councilor, so I wasn’t aware of this particular problem but I’m glad I am now,” city councilor Don Harris told Sanders.
Sanders told him she’s previously called his office about this problem.
Councilor Harris said he hadn’t personally been made aware of the issue until Monday night, but agreed to work with Sanders.
Sanders said there’s been drive-by shootings, SWAT calls, and visits to the home from the Children Youth and Families Department.
Nearby neighbors claim they’ve heard abuse. “Screaming and yelling, ‘I’m gonna beat your a** I’m gonna kill you!” Sanders recalled.
She said officers have arrested several people that have been in and out of the home, but claims the same criminals return soon afterward.
Neighbors said they’ve seen prostitutes go in and out of the home. One neighbor said she heard a young woman try and proposition a passing jogger for sex.
“We shouldn’t have to move from our home,” said Sanders. “This is where we should be able to retire and grow old together.”
Still, she said the home next door is a revolving door for criminals.
KRQE News 13 asked Sanders if the person living in the problem home has directly caused them problems. She said he recently came to her door and told her husband, “‘There’s gonna be a shooting,’ and then he went out and urinated all over the vehicles.” After hosing them off, she said “He came back over and spit all over our front door.”
Since he hasn’t been charged with a crime at this point, his name will not be released.
KRQE News 13 tried knocking on his door to get his side, but no one answered. A hand-written sign on the door stated the home was ‘closed’ between 2-6 a.m. unless you call first.
The sign also stated, “To my true friends – I am going to lose my home due to recent events. In order to keep my house I need your cooperation.”
Albuquerque police said officers know the home well.
“The situation is very difficult because you always have to balance the rights of the property owners and the rights of individuals,” explained Celina Espinoza, spokesperson for the Albuquerque Police Department.
Espinoza said officers are being proactive and that neighbors are doing the right thing to call them.
“I want to see my neighborhood back, I want to see it nice again,” Sanders concluded.
Sanders said one of the tipping points for her was when her husband’s truck was stolen. As her husband drove the neighborhood looking for it, the couple realized undercover officers in the area knew them on a first-name basis.
Neighbors said police have been proactive responding to calls and patrolling. However, at this point officers can’t just kick the person out, and he hasn’t been charged with a crime.
The city’s code enforcement said its hands are tied for now unless there are code violations.