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Lavu fed up with Albuquerque crime

Kai Porter and Kasia Gregorczyk
June 24, 2017 02:28 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Violent crime and drug use continues to be a big problem across Albuquerque. So much so, in fact, that one high-tech company that calls downtown home is saying enough is enough.

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Ohad Jehassi, the president of Lavu – which provides point of sale software systems for restaurants – said it’s getting so bad the company is thinking about moving out of the area, or even the state.

Jehassi sent a letter to Mayor Richard Berry and Governor Susan Martinez stating that a Lavu employee recently filed an official complaint alleging the working conditions in the area where Lavu is located are unsafe and present an imminent danger for employees.

“I cannot stress enough to both of you how serious the lack of safety in downtown Albuquerque has become for Lavu,” the letter states.

Jehassi cites several recent incidents in the letter, including an employee returning to their car to find the window shattered in March, a laptop and iPad stolen from another employee’s car in early June and, just last week, someone attempting to mug a Lavu employee.

Click here to read Lavu's letter in its entirety. 

Gilbert Montano, Berry’s chief of staff, said the city met with Jehassi on Wednesday to address his concerns and come up with a plan.

Montano also said city officials let Jehassi know they are aware of the problems in the area and have already been working to make downtown safer.

“This is a new person into town and (he is) not understood about all the changes we've had in the last six, seven years about how we've been trying to make our downtown so different than what it was,” he said. “Although we don't diminish the reaction he has, I'm not sure all the action has been presented about where we've been to where were going. We can't shut that light switch from off and on.”

In a statement to KOB, Jehassi called the meeting encouraging, saying that he is optimistic that Berry and his administration will continue to improve safety.

"As a contributor to our city's growing economy, we understand how important the downtown district is and Lavu remains invested in Albuquerque's success. 

For mobile users, see the area where Lavu is located here

All this comes two years after Andy Lim, founder and former CEO of Lavu, said in a news conference that Albuquerque is a resourceful destination for businesses.

That press conference was held to announce a $15 million investment to double the size of the Albuquerque-based tech startup.

“It’s not about leaving Albuquerque. We have great resources. We have great talent. People should be able to stay here and make great progress,” Lim said at the time. “Hopefully with this announcement we can change the mindset in terms of what Albuquerque is and how they can grow their company here."

Potential solutions

APD officials told KOB on Friday that there is an operation plan in place to target crime in the area where Lavu is located.

While police couldn’t go into too much detail, KOB learned that it does include an increased police presence.

Shaun Willoughby, president of the Albuquerque Police Union, applauded Lavu and Jehassi for continuing to address the city’s crime problems.


 

Credits

Kai Porter and Kasia Gregorczyk

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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