ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The city thinks it has a solution for a trio of bus stops that had become hangouts for the homeless and troublemakers.
The city removed the bus shelters and the crowds seem to have gone away with them.
Stabbings, shootings, robberies and assaults, the bus stop at Central and Wyoming was a magnet for crime.
“Every time we come, you’d have to either wait back here or away from the people that were homeless, or just, you know, most of them begging for money and things like that,” said frequent bus rider, Diane Romanek.
After countless complaints from nearby businesses and bus riders, ABQ Ride said enough is enough.
“It was a really bad bus stop,” Romanek said.
“We had been receiving complaints of people who were aggressively panhandling or intoxicated hanging around the shelter,” said Rick De Reyes, ABQ Ride Spokesperson.
In late February, the city tore the Rapid Ride shelter at Central and Wyoming down.
De Reyes says they had tried increased security and Albuquerque Police patrols, even calling in homelessness organizations to help.
But nothing worked well enough.
“In this case we figured that if we could take away that particular gathering area, that maybe things will improve,” De Reyes said.
“It seems to be cleared up. They moved though, to just on the other side of that street over there,” explained Romanek.
De Reyes says business owners he’s spoken with are pleased with the changes.
“Since then, we have not gotten any complaints about anybody loitering and aggressive panhandling, intoxication in that area,” De Reyes said.
While the comfort of having a shelter and bench is gone, “I think it was a good idea for them to get rid of it because it was, you know, just giving them too much of a place to sit down and squat.” Romanek said.
The Albuquerque Police Department says officers have noticed the crowds have cleared out from this bus stop. However, they’re not sure if the problems have just gone somewhere else.
The city also took down a shelter on San Mateo near Mcleod and another at 4th and Menaul, near a homeless shelter.