Neighbors voice safety concerns over abandoned homes in NE Albuquerque
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Weeks after police raided an Uptown home – made multiple arrests and deemed the house uninhabitable – some neighbors have new concerns.
Folks in nearby neighborhoods – blocks away – say vacant properties near their house may become the new target.
The neighbor KOB 4 talked to Wednesday afternoon didn’t want to share his name or face for his own protection. But after seeing what happened to a house in a neighborhood close to his, he started to get concerned about what could happen to vacant homes on his street.
“Yes it has been resolved at that place, well, hopefully resolved. But, does that just chase them off to another street? Another area all together? What can be done to correct some of those things that doesn’t take forever?”
Neighbors who lived closer to 2801 Florida say it took years before the city stepped in and shut it down. But this neighbor says he is trying to be more proactive.
“I am trying to advocate with neighbors to make certain things a little bit better more presentable, so it doesn’t look vacant or unoccupied for long periods of time. But there is nothing I can do to force the owners to do anything, there have been numerous numerous numerous attempts.”
As for 2801 Florida Street, the owner has appealed the city’s classification of it being “uninhabitable.” There will be a hearing next week where the owner plans to show the city he is working to hire contractors to fix it up and is considering selling it.
So what can a neighbor do if they feel a property is becoming a problem?
“We want them to report any properties that they feel aren’t in compliance or vacant, or maybe getting broken into. And the best way to do that is always 311,” said Angelo Metzgar, a City of Albuquerque Code Compliance manager.
Metzgar says they try to assess 311 reports within three days. But neighbors say that’s not always the case, and the longer a problem sits there, the worse it gets.
“They say there is not a whole lot we can do because it has to go through code ordinance violations and squatters have more rights than the neighbors, and that’s wrong,” said a concerned neighbor.
So where is the line between a code violation and a problem property?
“It becomes an issue where the City of Albuquerque is now draining resources, whether it’s through APD, AFR, Code, Solid Waste. Then that’s when it rises to the issue of being a problematic property, where we put more eyes on it and up the enforcement on it,” Metzgar said.
Metzgar adds if you notice there is a certain time or day of the week where these activities are happening, be sure to include that in your 311 report, so Code Enforcement can show up as problems are happening and can write a citation.