ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s no secret that Central Avenue in Albuquerque sees its share of homelessness. It’s also the gateway to the University of New Mexico, where many students living on campus said the homeless are becoming a problem.
Students said they’re seeing more and more homeless people hanging around their dorms.
“I get asked all the time, ‘Do you have any spare change?’ and I usually don’t,” Gillian Earwood said.
Sometimes though, the interactions aren’t so fast and easy.
“Recently, we were hanging out outside — an intoxicated homeless person came up was very upfront and trying to get things out of us, he even got physical and a lot of us felt uncomfortable with it,” Conrad Darrah said.
More than 2,500 students live on campus within seven different residence halls. All of them are located on Central Campus, near Johnson Field.
UNM is a public campus and it just so happens to sit along one of the busiest streets in the city, Central Avenue.
“Even touring during the day with my dad, there were like 10-15 (people) walking around, laying on the ground… and we said, ‘Wow this is a culture shock,'” Samantha Otzen said.
Last week, one student even wrote a letter that appeared in the Daily Lobo. It addressed the administration asking that UNM Police step up patrols at night. He even suggested putting a chain link fence along the southeast corner of campus near the dorms.
The student also described a scene he said happens far too often just right outside his dorm window.
“Imagine my joy when my work was interrupted by transient shenanigans, one of which decided he ought to punch the back window of a resident’s car.”
Students said it’s becoming too risky to be out on campus at night.
“We pay a lot of money to live on campus, so the fact that we have these confrontations is unfortunate,” Darrah said.
UNM couldn’t tell us if putting in a chain link fence along Girard is an option.
UNM Police said most of the calls they get are about the homeless sneaking into some of the educational buildings that stay open late. They said officers do ‘building checks’ early in the morning and late at night.
The university said officers also offer the homeless rides to shelters nearby if they find them sleeping on campus.