‘It’s just not safe’: Albuquerque residents react to recent violent crimes

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – After recent violent incidents in Albuquerque, including the shooting death of a local pizza shop owner and an attack on a walking trail that investigators called “random,” KOB 4 asked residents how they feel about crime and their safety. 

“I don’t feel safe at all – at all,” Albuquerque resident Ernest Rodarge said. “I have plans of moving out.”

Many people believe the city’s problem with violent crime is getting worse. 

“I don’t go out after dark. I do everything during the day, early in the morning. It’s just not safe,” one woman said.

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Those fears seem to go against what Albuquerque police said earlier this month.

“Unless you’re involved in the narcotics trade or the gun trade, then you’re pretty safe,” Lt. Ray Del Greco of the Albuquerque Police Department said on Aug. 20 while giving media members information on a recent homicide.

Recent tragedies in the metro tell a different story, however.

Many are reacting to the owner of a beloved southeast Albuquerque pizza restaurant getting gunned down Tuesday night outside his shop. Police say he was killed in a shootout with a robber.

In a separate incident less than two weeks ago, officers say a 19 year old, who was out of jail on other crimes, randomly attacked a woman in the bosque – raping her, stabbing her and leaving her for dead.

People at one West Side gas station Sunday night were in danger too, as Albuquerque police officers shot and killed a man there after a confrontation.

 “It’s terrible. I just can’t understand the people who are doing these crimes,” said Albuquerque resident Patricia Smith.

Smith said on two separate occasions she’s been at a store as someone was robbing it. 

“The people that robbed them just walked out of the door with what they wanted like nothing mattered,” she said.

Many have hope that Albuquerque can find solutions. 

“Until we address some of the underlying issues, such as access to education, affordable housing, all these things are happening at the same time,” Albuquerque resident Julie Janes said.

Tuesday night’s killing was the 14th homicide investigation just this month for Albuquerque police and the 8th in the last two weeks.

The department has 87 such investigations so far this year, which is outpacing last year’s grim record.