Ventana Ranch community addressing property crime

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A community known for being quiet and relatively peaceful has been shaken up in the last several weeks.

A longtime resident there and former Albuquerque Police officer who patrolled the area says his neighbors shouldn’t be scared instead they should smarten up and come together.

“It’s been deemed by officers as ‘sleepy hollow’, there’s not a lot going on,” David Ritchie said.

But lately, ‘sleepy hollow’ is waking up.

“When you start getting complacent and you’re comfortable in this neat little neighborhood, people can come in and every now and then, take advantage of that,” Ritchie said.

Last weekend nearly two dozen vandalism incidents in Ventana Ranch occurred, car windows left shattered.

In October, a home burglar in the area tricked officers and got away

“You’ll see a vandalism streak, they’ll go in and they’ll hit several cars or they’ll hit several homes or they’ll go in and they’ll check door handles through the neighborhood,” Ritchie explained.

He used to patrol the area while an APD officer. He recently worked with the neighborhood association to hold a meeting to address the crime.

“It was cool to see everyone in the neighborhood. They’re concerned but they’re not scared, they were looking for an education and that’s what I think needs to happen in a lot of these neighborhoods, is just be educated,” he said.

Northwest command crime specialist, Pete Gelabert spoke at the meeting. He says property crime here, as it is in much of the city, is trending up.

They covered locking up, self defense and installing security systems

“I think in recent events and incidents they need to,” Ritchie said about installing security cameras. The neighborhood association also asking parents to keep an eye on teenagers as winter break approaches.

They think a group of them are responsible for last weekend’s vandalism.

“It was just to give them information in different areas on feeling safe, creating that peace of mind and being educated.”

The city is working with on a pilot program to cut down on property crime by bringing back retired officers and hiring staff to respond only to those types of calls.

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