ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – With crime on the rise in many parts of Albuquerque, businesses are taking it upon themselves to protect their customers, employees, and their merchandise by paying for private security.

“In the last few months there’s been a tremendous uptick in people desperate for security of all different kinds,” said Aaron T. Jones, President and CEO of International Protective Service.

Aaron Jones says people in the city are fed up with the crime and long police response times so they’re reaching out to his company for help.

“It’s the first time probably in our 16 years that we’ve been to the point that we’ve actually had to turn people down,” said Jones.

Jones says there’s been so much of a demand for extra security from businesses and residents, they can’t hire people fast enough. There is a long process applicants have to go through including training, background checks, and psychological screenings.

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“We do have to go through a vetting process to make sure that we have the right people in the right places that sometimes is difficult,” said Jones.

The majority of customers reach out for help with things like repeat intruders, theft, or homeless people causing disturbances.

“They’re asking us to respond to pretty much things that the police department used to respond. Our police department APD doesn’t have the manpower to be able to respond to what was categorized as a priority 3 call,” said Gil Chavez, Owner of Advance On-Site Protection Security.

A priority three call is considered a non life threatening or emergency type of call. Security guards in New Mexico have limits on what they can do when dealing with a situation. Including they first try to de-escalate situations verbally and in some cased they can detain someone until law enforcement shows up.

“There is nothing more rewarding than when you can see a family going in and being able to shop without the fear of being gunned down while they’re walking down the isles trying to put food on their table,” said Jones.

Jones said the number of calls he gets now from new customers is double or triple what he usually gets. Last year was the deadliest year in Albuquerque’s history. According to data from Albuquerque Police Department’s crime statistics, in 2021 robbery cases went up. Some crimes did go down, including burglary and vandalism.