The Greater Albuquerque Hotel & Lodging Association (GAHLA) knows all too well that crime matters. It matters to guests, it matters to associates, it matters to owners and it matters to the city coffers. There is a spike in murders at hotels due in part to policies that accept down and out local tenants at weekly or monthly rates. The out of control homeless population who occupy every area of the city create not a nuisance but a very dangerous environment for everyone. A rage in a hotel lobby, guns fired in the parking lots, needles, trash and belligerent attitudes are creating perilous situations.
Places of lodging, restaurants, breweries, shopping centers and attractions all have beefed up security measures. For years we have heard from every Mayor, every Chief of Police, and politician a goal to increase the police force. However, with the current toxic anti-police environment it’s time for a reality check. The judicial system and courts cannot continue to let the repeat offenders out on the streets. This increases the problems for the police and is a serious factor contributing to the low morale.
While we want and need our overnight visitors back, GAHLA worries that Albuquerque is not ready to roll out the red carpet. The pre-pandemic problems are still serious issues and in many cases have become more critical. The police are under great scrutiny for many reasons, but does this mean we don’t need them at our side watching our backs? Do we give in to calls for no police or cuts to funding when crime is a communitywide threat? The police union here is calling for a Crime Matters campaign asking citizens and businesses to speak up about what is important to us. GAHLA supports the police and believes they are a paid for and needed resource.
If tourism is to come back strong we must have a plan of consequences to combat the homeless issue, we must put repeat offenders in jail, and we must put more police on the streets and give them the authority to fight crime again. We are all Covid fatigued and ready for the city’s and state’s economies to open. But, are we ready for tourists to come back? The Mayor has gratefully recognized the city needs a good cleaning and we support this effort. If there is no plan to keep the city clean after the spring cleanup will it have been worth the effort? There needs to be consequences for defacing buildings, leaving trash, carts and tents on the sidewalks. What are the consequences for living on the streets?
Albuquerque has a system of support for those in need. There must be consequences for behaviors to change. If the police have the authority to move the street tenants to the service center appropriate to the individual need and the help is refused, there must be a consequence. Maybe it is a mental institution or possibly it is jail time. Then upon release there must be a path to the services needed or the consequences become graver. This is not an easy problem with easy answers. The city must address this problem, courts must keep repeat offenders off the streets, bail is necessary, constant vigilance is required. Taxpayers deserve a solution that works and our Police and Sheriffs deserve our support! GAHLA has met with both groups.
We stand behind law enforcement and we believe consequences matter. We ask our judicial officials, the court system and city leaders to stand up for a better Albuquerque. Help us bring a robust tourism economy back to our city. Tourism works for all of us and helps pay for the many “quality of life” amenities while instilling pride in our citizens. It is time to work together on change that matters because crime does matter.
On Behalf of the Greater Albuquerque Hotel & Lodging Association,
General Manager, Hotel Albuquerque
On Wednesday, April 28, 2021 Chief Medina and Area Commanders as well as other APD staff met with our group to discuss how we can better partner to make member hotels safer for guests and our teams. Concerns were expressed about parking lot crimes and homeless issues. The best way for hotels to help slow crime at our businesses is to communicate with the police about the problems we face. The way to do this is to post on Safe City Connect through the Hospitality partnership, and to report other issues to 311. Need help with getting set up on the program? Contact Michelle Dressler, firstname.lastname@example.org
The benefits of posting troubles at your hotels are the following:
- The postings are distributed to many departments at APD, so many eyes are reading what happened and can react to it
- The postings create a history of the types of crimes that are occurring in what areas of the city; this is cross referenced with what has happened in other industries that are posting on Connect in your area
- The data is analyzed and collected for tracking and efficiencies to help find the culprits
- Any photos or videos are most helpful and can be attached to the post on Connect and may be used as evidence in court proceedings
- More information is better, guest making police reports is better, and the sooner you post the better
The Chief shared that they have started Project Green Light. This is a program where businesses partner with the police and install cameras that provide a live feed to the police of your property. With this program reactions will be more immediate and businesses with a green light on their building are notifying the criminals that this business has a live feed to the police department. It is a deterrent and a bigger one if many of the businesses in your area show the Green Lights. The added benefit is that your guests learn that you are proactive in your security measures.
There is a cost to the business for the purchase and installation of the quality cameras and high speed Internet service. More information can be found by https://www.research.net/r/ABQSCAN
Get to Know your Area Commander:
The Albuquerque Police Department divides the city into six geographical areas called area commands.
Each area command is managed by a commander and staffed with between 82 and 119 officers, depending on size of the area command and level of calls for service.
All officers are dispatched through the Police Communications operators by calling (505) 242-COPS for non-emergency calls or 911 in an emergency.
View more information about specific area commands and meet your Commander: