Police operation targets Route 66 ahead of Balloon Fiesta

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The old Mother Road might be a draw for some tourists, but not all stretches of Central Avenue are equally inviting.

The intersection of addiction, homelessness and sometimes violent crime often crosses Central.

KOB 4 is giving you a look inside a recent police operation focusing on those problem areas.

Police say they are focusing on crime up and down Central. The results of this latest operation are coming right before Balloon Fiesta.

Samuel Rivas says the biggest problems are encampments and the stuff left behind. He says lately he is seeing officers more frequently.

Police say they have cleared 16 illegal encampments. Part of the problem is they don’t stay cleared for long.

Before the end of the state fair, police cleared a big camp near the fairgrounds by the abandoned CVS at Central and Louisiana. People are back there now, and you don’t have to go far to find huge camps taking up long stretches of sidewalk.

About 15 homicides have happened in a two-mile radius around this part of town, just this year. That accounts for about 18% of all killings throughout the city.

Police did not say how long this latest operation lasted. But they did say it has led to 89 arrests and a staggering 933 traffic citations.

The Central Corridor Operation is not the only operation. Police also pointed to the Retail Crime Operation as another one of these proactive moves to try to slow down shoplifting.

KOB 4 got to go on a ride-along on this operation. We witnessed the arrest of someone allegedly stealing thousands of dollars worth of clothes with the intent to re-sell them.