ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Wednesday, Albuquerque Mayor Richard J. Berry announced another new plan to clean up downtown. This comes after a new wave of complaints about all the crime plaguing the area.
The Mayor and Albuquerque Police Chief Gorden Eden announced the Downtown Action Plan, saying they recognize there’s a problem.
Downtown business owners agree something has to be done to address the crime plaguing their part of town.
“We’ve done what we can to make sure that the folks that we don’t want hanging around the store don’t stay around,” said Kelly Ortman, Silver Street Market owner. She says they’ve had to run people off the property and she welcomes the Mayor’s plan to crack down.
“It’s a step in the right direction,” Ortman said.
“When they have concerns, I have concerns as a mayor,” Mayor Berry said. He added that the city’s new Downtown Action Plan is a five pronged approach.
“We’ve seen a spike in crime downtown and we need to do something about it,” Mayor Berry said.
The plan includes ideas announced before, like a bigger APD presence downtown, but this time the emphasis will be on foot and bike patrols.
The city is also making a new push to get homeless people and addicts help.
“But at the end of the day, if you’re breaking the law we may in fact have to make an arrest,” Mayor Berry said.
The city also wants to focus on security in downtown — different from police patrols — and partnerships with business coalitions.
Another part of the plan is making downtown easier on the eyes.
“We are going to make a concerted effort to make sure we have a clean streets program as part of this as well,” said the mayor.
Businesses in downtown say they’re hopeful the efforts will help.
“You’ve gotta try something to see if it’s going to work before you can go back and reevaluate and maybe make changes, but you can’t not do anything,” Ortman said.
“Can we sustain this level of operation? And our commitment is yes,” Chief Eden said.
The city announced the plan Wednesday but says it’s been in place for more than a week now.
In that time, officers have written 42 citations and made 19 arrests. They did not say how that compares to a usual week.
Recently, the tech company LAVU sent a letter to the mayor and governor about downtown crime saying it was about ready to move away if the city didn’t take action.