ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – They say they want to nip the problem in the bud before it gets worse.
Homeless people are sleeping in their neighborhood park and it’s even gotten scary at times.
Mark Burton has lived in his Singing Arrow community near Tramway and Central for more than a decade.
He says lately the community park has turned into a small campground for homeless people.
“We have a variety of people just staying here at night,” Burton said.
According to city code, the park closes at 10 p.m., meaning dozing off there for the night, is against the ordinance.
But, it’s not the sleeping, so much, that’s the biggest issue.
“It’s an actual threatening environment,” Burton said.
He explained that recently a neighbor was trying to report a suspicious car nearby, “some lady comes out of the park, starts screaming at her, she goes back into the park, another guy comes out with a knife and chases her away,” he said.
“They really don’t, they don’t bother me, at least in the morning,” said Kevin McKeage who lives in the area.
He says he’s noticed them too, during his morning walks with his dog.
He says they’re on the benches under the park shelter and in tents on the grass.
“I don’t know if I’m the most comfortable with my wife coming out here,” he said.
“This is an ongoing issue in this city and in many other cities throughout the country during summer weather,” explained Gilbert Montano, a city spokesperson.
He added the city is aware it’s a problem.
“We’ve always had a zero tolerance for that, it’s a matter of enforcement,” he said.
Meanwhile, Burton said that enforcement is exactly what neighbors want.
“If we don’t want to support it then we need to enforce the park closed hours,” he said.
Burton says he empathizes with the homeless community but it makes him and his neighbors wary.
“Whose going to be friendly? Whose not? Even if it’s one of a hundred and they start hurting people, that’s not acceptable in my neighborhood,” he said.
The Singing Arrow neighborhood is also dealing with conflicting opinions as to where it’s new community center should go.
Some fear its proposed location near Tramway will attract more of the homeless population.