Updated: Friday, 14 Jan 2011, 11:54 AM MST
Published : Thursday, 13 Jan 2011, 6:21 PM MST
ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Police and firefighters Thursday found more than 60 syringes in and around an abandoned apartment complex in a northwest Albuquerque neighborhood across the street from where kids live and play.
“I think roughly about 60 or so individual or sharps needles is what they were able to pick up,” Watson said.
EMS Deputy Chief Tige Watson said firefighters were picking up syringes by the handful. He said police called them in around noon on Thursday after a tip led them to the neighborhood on Estancia NW off of Central Avenue.
Watson said there were needles scattered everywhere from small syringes to large ones.
“The single would be the size of a TB syringe,” Watson said.
Neighbors said they weren't surprised at all.
One neighbor, who asked that his name not be revealed, said he has been approached by drug dealers that lurk around the abandoned building.
“I don't know exactly what was going on in there,” the neighbor said. “I know that it was a drug magnet because there were cars there all the time.”
The abandoned building has been on the radar of Albuquerque’s Safe City Strike Force for a year since it was red-tagged and boarded up.
However, neighbors said the druggies kept coming back and that Thursday’s cleanup proves it.
Emergency personal worried about the idea that a child could have picked one of the needles up.
“The kids sneak in there to go play or something,” neighbor said, “You don't know they might pick them up or play with them.”
“They may think that this was a toy,” Watson said. “They can be exposed to Hepatitis B or C or HIV or even worse. In some case if they can be exposed to heroin.”
The Safe City Strike Force said it's working on knocking the abandoned building down. Neighbors said that should help, but until it happens they worry the crime will continue.
Neighbors also said stepped-up police patrols have helped, but the problem obviously has not been solved.