Safety expert weighs in on recent public shootings in Albuquerque

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Increased crime in public places has a lot of folks looking over their shoulder and second guessing their safety these days.

So, KOB 4 talked about those community-wide fears with a public safety expert, and a man who says he had a close call Tuesday morning, with a stranger on the highway.

“It was this morning I was coming back from Albuquerque,” said a road rage victim. 

This man – who asked to remain anonymous for fear of his safety – says he pulled in front of an aggressive driver who ended up following him for several miles.

“He started flashing and honking, and shaking his fist at me,” he said. “I really thought that you know, this guy was going to kill me.”

The man says the driver continued to follow him until he pulled into a Santa Fe police station.

“There is no place in the United States to go that’s safe. You can’t knock on the wrong door. You can’t turn it around in a parking lot, or in a driveway. You can’t go to the supermarket, or the mall, or a birthday party, or graduation,” said the victim. 

“Violent crime is something that affects the community in a variety of ways. One of which is, you know, they stop going out to eat as much, they stop going to the mall as much, they stop going to, you know, movies,” said Paul Szych, a retired APD commander and public safety expert. 

In just the past week alone, there have been shootings in a barbecue restaurant parking lot, inside a local grocery store, and inside a movie theater.

Szych says people in Albuquerque are scared to even leave home these days.

“But the reality is, you know, these things- we do have some control over some of this,” Szych said. 

He says it’s all about making ourselves more aware of our surroundings. For example, he says you can limit distractions when walking to your car by putting your phone down.

“As you leave your house, you know, you’re gonna look around, and do you have cars parked on the, you know, on the curb that aren’t normally there,” said Szych. 

Or is there someone sitting inside a parked car that you don’t know? He encourages the same vigilance when you arrive at your destination, and says to always follow your gut, and report suspicious activity.

“What used to be rare is now common,” said Szych said. “This, unfortunately, is just the new reality that we have.”