Albuquerque business reports homeless camp, gets citation

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Driving down Central Avenue between I-25 and University Boulevard you’ll see boarded up windows, fences around businesses, and no trespassing signs. All in an effort to prevent homeless encampments from popping up.

“Last week we had a homeless encampment pop up here right behind me, and it was difficult to deal with,” Owner of Free-Range Joseph Pitluck said. 

Pitluck says a couple of homeless people had set up tents and sleeping bags on the ramp in front of his business last Monday, and it took a week to get the response he wanted from the city. 

“I called 311 and 242-COPS multiple times,” Pitluck said. 

In his reports he requested Albuquerque Community Services or Albuquerque Police Department to come clear the encampment. But, instead, Code Enforcement showed up. 

“Unfortunately, after I submitted the reports, I got a letter from Code Enforcement stating I was in trouble because we had illegal camping in the parking lot,” Pitluck said, “I thought it was absurd, it was insane the fact that I’m getting punished for trying to clean up a homeless encampment its insane.” 

We asked the city why Code Enforcement responded to Pitluck’s reports rather than APD. A spokesperson for the city says the 311 report was sent to the Planning Department rather than police. 

A spokesperson with the city said:

“The notification that Code Enforcement left was a first notice that carries no penalty for the property owner. APD and ACS continue to work to improve response times, but given the high volume of calls for service, it’s critical that owners help by appropriately securing their property.” 

But Pitluck says the notice makes him feel targeted and that he is being held to a different standard than city properties. 

“For instance, if I get my window broken and if I don’t get it fixed right away I get a letter saying it’s a $500 a day fine for every day it’s not fixed. But when windows were broken at the library in the International District the city said it would take months to fix because of the supply chain, so it’s a double standard between businesses, and city property.” Pitluck said. 

While APD cleared the camp the following Monday morning—it seems the same tent popped up across the street in the afternoon. 

Pitluck says he is happy the encampment is off his property, but wished it wasn’t such a difficult process to get the right city department to respond to 311 reports.