- Associated Press - Thursday, July 6, 2017

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - The mayor of Albuquerque has unveiled a plan to clean up crime in the city’s downtown.

The unveiling comes two weeks after a prominent downtown businesses publicly condemned a plague of crime, homelessness, drug addiction and trash in the area.

“The five-point plan came about because business owners came to us and said they want things to get better Downtown,” Mayor Richard Berry said. “When I start hearing from my clients who are downtown, my customers, businesses who are here and are making these investments, bringing their folks downtown, when they have concerns, I have concerns as the mayor.”

The plan includes a greater police presence in the area, as well as additional street sweepers, graffiti control and trash cleanup. It also includes services for people suffering from homelessness, substance abuse and mental health issues. And it calls for better partnerships between the city and business owners and more coordination between private security and police.

The administration wants to make sure the effort is sustainable and can be carried over to the city’s next leaders, Berry said.

Albuquerque Police Cmdr. Donovan Olvera said officers began noticing an uptick in downtown crimes, especially property crimes, about a month ago. Officers have since tried to adjust schedules in order to make sure more officers are patrolling the area in times of peak criminal activity, he said.

Albuquerque Police Chief Gorden Eden said police have come into contact with 329 people and visited 81 businesses in the area since attention to downtown has increased. Police have issued 214 verbal warnings, 42 citations and made eight misdemeanor arrests and 11 felony arrests since June 26, Eden said.

Two officers on the swing shift unit will be pulled out of other areas to focus on downtown between 3 and 9:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, Olvera said.

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