ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A non-profit organization that shares the history of Albuquerque’s Downtown has stopped giving tours. The group said they don’t feel safe and they’re embarrassed.
For the past seven years, the Albuquerque Historical Society offered free walking tours in Downtown from 1st Street to 8th Street with the goal of sharing the area’s rich history. Vice President Trudy Merriman said people from across the state came for their tours. Now, she said, since the homeless population has started to increase in the area, their tour guides started to feel unsafe.
“The hard decision came when we found that, slowly, the homeless were moving more into the area. We would see unpleasant things,” said Merriman.
The tours were offered on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. One of the most popular destinations on the tour was the historic KiMo Theatre.
“The homeless would generally be sleeping down here in front of the KiMo because it’s covered, and it became embarrassing for us to bring people over here to show them this gorgeous building,” said Merriman.
Back in 2016, they had about a dozen tour guides. That slowly started to decrease to five guides last year. One guide called it quits after what happened while walking to his car.
“He went up to his car and saw a man leaning on it. He said, ‘Excuse me, this is my car,’ and the man turned around projecting vomit on him,” said Merriman.
Merriman said they would like to see more police patrolling Downtown before considering if they’ll bring back the walking tours.