Teen nights return in Albuquerque with public safety focus

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Teen nights are back in Albuquerque.

City officials said the first event, a pool party Friday night, was to give teens a fun way to cool off, but also said it was a way to increase public safety.

“It’s really fun. There’s a lot to do – and food,” one teenager said.

It was a pool party at the Sunport Pool, the first of four events on Fridays in July.

“I’m having a fun summer now,” one teenager said.

The city expected 200 kids ages 12 to 18 Friday night, and they said 500 teens in total came out to the events last year.

It’s part of the One Albuquerque: Youth Connect initiative. City officials said the free events are age-appropriate fun, but they’re also meant to keep kids safe – creating safe spaces while these teens are not in school.

“We’re serving teens from all across Albuquerque. This is a great way for them to be in a safe, fun environment without their parents,” Family and Community Services worker Sara Scheid said.

Unfortunately, there have been many incidents of teen violence this summer in Albuquerque.

Police said three teens were shot and killed at a birthday party, a teenage girl was shot and killed by her boyfriend, and someone shot an 18-year-old in a West Side neighborhood.

City reps believe the teen nights will be “directly influencing public safety.”

“Well, I think just being here at this pool speaks for itself. They’re not out there getting into trouble. Usually, when teens get in trouble, it’s because they’re bored. We have 200 teens that are not going to be sitting home bored tonight,” Scheid said.

One teenager at the event told KOB 4 she has seen guns at parties, and one 15 year old told KOB 4 she sees needles and broken bottles on her walk to work.

“It’s nice to be somewhere where you don’t have to see all that, you don’t have to worry about all that and you can just have fun.”

Families took all 200 spots tonight for the pool party Friday.

Parents can register their teenagers for next Friday’s event, a sports and karaoke night at the Barelas Community Center. It’s free for kids ages 12 to 18.