Companies in downtown Albuquerque say vandalism is the value to pay

The Castle Coffee continues as usual, a unique taste of downtown Albuquerque charm.

“I fell in love with downtown,” said Joshua Castleberry, owner of Castle Coffee, of his decision to open in downtown Albuquerque two years ago.

But as he found out last month, the vandals are just an unintended consequence.

“We got in and nothing was stolen, just a random person throwing rocks,” Castleberry said. “I didn’t catch anything with my camera. But we just threw a stone through the window. “

They replaced the window and kept the souvenir.

But it’s similar with other companies. Cafe Lush people said that a window was broken there around the same time. But they just fixed it and moved on. They don’t really expect anyone to be held responsible for this.

According to the APD, the previous administration signed McClendon’s settlement agreement, which prevents officials from arresting anyone for nonviolent offenses, with the exception of the DWI.

The officers can quote them, but that would mean they have to catch them. If an arrest is warranted, the officer must explain the reasons.

“I think it’s only the strangers who bother me,” said Castleberry. “Just every day without knowing it. But we had to add more security cameras so it’s just extra layers. So if we find out who it is, we can track them down, or at least know who they are. “

An APD spokesman said they were devoted to issues affecting the inner city and arrested someone last month for vandalism in the inner city.

But there is another strategy.

“We’re taking a number of steps to revitalize downtown,” said Karen Iverson, manager of the Metropolitan Redevelopment Agency.

Iverson said they are investing in housing, the rail trail, and business incentives.

They are offering a $ 30,000 grant to new businesses to fill some of these empty storefronts.

“It’s critical to safety and revitalization just to get more activity. More of these empty shop fronts will make it look more alive. It will attract more visitors. More visitors will attract more residents. When more people are on the street, people feel safer. All of this goes into a security strategy, ”said Iverson.

Castleberry said even with the possibility of further destruction, downtown is where it wants to be.

In fact, he plans to open a new Castle Coffee in the east of downtown.

Meanwhile, APD said they created the Downtown Public Safety District with officials and staff from different departments. They work with property owners to solve problems like vandalism.

A spokesman said last week that these officials logged 123 patrols downtown. According to the APD, these officials made 514 community contacts, 131 business contacts and answered 63 service calls.

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