4 Investigates: City works on cleaning up crime at public parks
May 24, 2019 10:18 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Six months ago, the 4 Investigates Team went undercover to expose city parks that were havens for homeless camps and rampant drug use. From open drug use to drinking, it's an ongoing crisis.
"I think we're making some significant progress," said David Simon, Albuquerque Parks and Recreation director. "We are using every tool in the tool box."
Simon said the city is in it for the long haul.
"There's no magic wand solution to it, but we have both short-term approaches and long-term plans and strategies that over time will really make a difference," he said.
Near 4th Street and I-40, Coronado Park is a prime example of the problem. The skate park in the center is seldom used and it's surrounded by unwavering homeless camps.
City officials say there's one major reason – Coronado Park is the main pickup point for hundreds of people seeking a shuttle ride to the Westside Emergency Shelter.
Lisa Huval, deputy director of Housing and Homelessness for the city, said those regular pickups at Coronado Park carried over from previous administrations.
"We sort of inherited Coronado Park," Huval said. "I think ideally something we'd like to see in the future is a more dispersed set of pickup points so that not everyone is congregating in one area."
Simon agreed that changing the shuttle stop would help. He said there are also long-term solutions in the works.
In November, voters will decide whether to spend $14 million to build a new, centrally-located homeless shelter – which would eliminate the need for a shuttle.
Plus, the city council recently approved $1.7 million for security enhancements and patrols at city parks.
"We're serious about keeping the parks clean and safe and retaking the ones that need more love and attention," Simon said.
Updated: May 24, 2019 10:18 PM
Created: May 24, 2019 08:44 PM
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