Keller closing store punishes victims of ABQ crime - Albuquerque Journal

Keller closing store punishes victims of ABQ crime

Mayor Keller went public on March 2, telling Albuquerque he is suing to close down Adam Market because the landlord has refused to cooperate with the city’s requirements to stop criminal activity at “the most dangerous intersection in Albuquerque,” where “over $100,000 has been spent” by law enforcement, and “over 500 shots have been fired” since the city began recording gunshots.

The request, which the landlord refused, was to close the convenience store immediately. Months of city investigation have failed to find any relationship between the owners and the tenant operating the convenience store and any criminal element. The merchants do not want crime at their property, and the landlord has offered the city, as a donation, a business lot across the street if the city will build a police substation there. It has beefed up security and offered to do more, but it is the city that has failed to cooperate. Since the city wants to be a sanctuary site for (undocumented) immigrants, it is the city and not the only convenience store left in this area that is creating the problem and is refusing or unable to prevent crime from occurring near that site.

The one time that store employees fired shots at criminals there, the employees were arrested.

There has been no showing that closing Adam Market and depriving the community of a convenience store there will stop or even slow crime on East Central. The criminals there will merely redistribute in the community, and presumably the city will systematically attack and close gathering points as they are identified, rather than providing police services to stop the crime the city enabled with its own policies in the first place.

The governor of New Mexico and the mayor of Albuquerque always favor large retailers over local business. They were closed during the COVID pandemic; the big-box stores stayed open all the time.

The ART bus system killed retail. Contrary to the premise used to sell it, neither Northeast Heights residents nor tourists flock to city buses to go shopping on Central. The bus system is so unattractive that even making it free has not led to increased use, and now you can only get on the ART buses at stations six to 12 blocks apart and only buy what you can conveniently carry.

When Walmart recently closed stores in Illinois and Wisconsin over shoplifting and other crime in its properties, the only one west of the Mississippi that it closed was on San Mateo between Central and Zuni. The city immediately announced it is buying the property in order to look for a replacement retailer there, since the community needs more places to shop. We do not hear that the city wants to replace Adam Market with a different retailer or is even willing to buy the property. The city just wants to level the building and tells you that will make the crime problem better and the city safer.

Keller says the city wants to amend its nuisance ordinance so it can sue property owners for damages and not just destroy their property if crime occurs on their premises. Are the bus station and Civic Plaza at risk? Probably not.

Convenience store owners like Adam Market are victims of crime, not the cause of it. The landlord did not spend money improving this location for the benefit of criminals. Probably they will just gather down the street at the new library – which I am sure is in no danger of being closed when it happens.

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