ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A group of Albuquerque neighbors is fed up. They say every time they go to a nearby shopping center, they have to deal with trash, drugs, and even human feces. The group is now threatening to boycott the shopping center until the owners can clean up their act.
The Four Hills Shopping Center at Central and Tramway is home to Sprouts grocery store, Einstein Bagels, and Icon Cinema, but neighbors say they’re taking their business elsewhere until the property owners clean up the mess and crime. “This is a public health hazard,” said Colleen Aycock. “This is a menace to the public.”
Those are words not usually used to describe a neighborhood shopping center. “This is a great shopping center, but the problems that are existing in the shopping center are enormous,” said Byron Powdrell, a community member who has witnessed the issues firsthand. “To have all the store owners, management on the same team as well as the owner of the property and management, that will aid greatly in reducing the number of crimes that’s happening in this area.”
Neighbors like Aycock and Powdrell rely on nearby stores for their groceries. However, they say people are using the property after-hours, leaving behind broken glass, trash, drugs, and worse. “You don’t see as many needles today as we saw three years ago from people doing drugs, but what you see are the results of their shooting up through enema bags,” said Aycock. “It spreads terrible pathogens and people walk through this stuff.”
The “stuff” she’s referring to — fecal matter on sidewalks and outside store entrances. Aycock says that’s not the only issue. Earlier this week, she had a gun pulled on her. When KRQE News 13 went out to the shopping center Thursday, the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office was doing a criminal round-up.
Aycock says the property owners don’t have full-time 24/7 security and rarely see guards during the weekend. “It’s forced all of these businesses to get their own security officers but they have no jurisdiction outside their own businesses,” said Aycock. “They can’t go farther than 16 feet.”
Aycock is an organizer with the group Women Taking Back Our Neighborhoods. She says she’s now urging fellow locals to stop shopping at Four Hills Shopping Center until property owners clean the place up. “This was on Sunday when I sent out the memo, ‘it’s not advisable to shop here until the area is cleaned up,'” said Aycock. “‘I don’t want you walking through feces walking into Sprouts.'”
The Four Hills Shopping Center is owned by Daskalos Development. KRQE News 13 reached out to them to see if there are plans to beef up security but did not hear back. The ‘Women Taking Back Our Neighborhoods’ group says in the meantime, if you see any suspicious activity at the shopping center, call 311 to report it.