SE Albuquerque neighbors share concerns over homeless encampments, demand accountability
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – You can spot homeless encampments in countless neighborhoods across Albuquerque, but some say they’re sticking around longer than ever before.
Some people in southeast Albuquerque are going as far as saying their neighborhood is “under siege.”
Eric Harapat has lived in Albuquerque’s International District for three years, but it’s not by choice.
“We’re stuck here, we don’t have the money to move out of here,” said Harapat.
He says he’s watched it go from bad to worse.
“I mean, it’s a nonstop criminal enterprise that goes on here,” Harapat said.
He describes dumpster fires multiple times a week, break-ins at nearby vacant trailers, open drug use, and regular shootings.
“I feel unsafe every single day and living in this neighborhood. So, you know, I live in fear. I have to carry a cane,” said Harapat.
Another neighbor says she caught several incidents on her surveillance camera.
She says several people camping nearby told her, “This is our neighborhood now, cops can’t touch us.”
“There’s like shotguns going off at night. We have fireworks constantly going off at night. We have gunfire going off at night,” Harapat said.
When the city does clear the camps – with the correct amount of notice that’s outlined in a recent court ruling – Harapat says campers show up in a different nearby alleyway days, or even hours later.
“Most of my neighbors are in the same situation, this doesn’t change, it just keeps getting worse and worse,” said Harapat.
They’re asking for attention and accountability.
“It’s kind of the same repetitive behavior. It doesn’t accomplish anything, allowing people to stay on the street to commit crimes is being complicit,” Harapat said.
KOB 4 asked the city about what it’s currently doing to ease these concerns, while it’s under this ruling that limits how and when the city can clear encampments.
Reps say teams are having to use new tools to offer people available beds and an opportunity to store their belongings.
Reps also mention there is misinformation floating around homeless encampments – so outreach teams are working to correct that. The city has another chance to challenge this judge’s decision in mid-December.