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Berry To Battle Downtown Crime Wave

Berry To Battle Downtown Crime Wave

The Downtown Action Plan calls for the city to put more police officers in the area, remove graffiti and trash and getting services for people with addiction problems.

Bowing to pressure from business people who have been complaining about a big increase in crime in the Downtown area, Mayor Richard Berry on Wednesday announced a five-point program to battle crime in the area.

The Downtown Action Plan calls for the city to put more police officers in the area, remove graffiti and trash and get services for people with addiction problems.

“There is no question that we are seeing a renaissance Downtown with unprecedented investment and interest in living and working in the core of our city,” Berry said. “This robust initiative is all about creating a sustainable long-term plan so that downtown is welcoming to everyone.”

The city is also ramping up street-cleaning efforts by increasing the street sweeper schedule from once a week to every other day. In conjunction with the Block By Block cleanup crews, city graffiti crews and other departments, the public spaces in Downtown will have an improved appearance in the area, Berry said.

Berry added that the Albuquerque Police Department has already started concentrated law enforcement efforts in the area. Police are also directing people to services and nonprofit organizations including substance abuse counseling, homeless providers and mental health advocates.

“You can’t just arrest your way out of these issues,” Berry said. “We have an obligation to try and help steer people towards long-term solutions for themselves and their families,” he added.

Berry’s plan is focused on five core efforts including:

1. Enhanced policing and law enforcement efforts in the area.

2. Clean Streets Initiatives including additional street sweepers, graffiti control and trash cleanup.

3. Services for people suffering from homelessness, substance abuse and mental health issues.

4. Partnerships with business owners, business advocates and other private sector and nonprofit entities.

5. Security integration between city security and private sector security providers.

Crime has been skyrocketing in Albuquerque, and the metro area is now the car theft capital of the nation. Downtown business owners have been complaining recently of the increased crime in the area. They’ve said that their employees’ cars have been broken into and that they have been harassed on their ways to and from their offices.

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Dennis Domrzalski is managing editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at dennis@freeabq.com.

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