ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A rise in the homeless population has businesses and even governments getting creative with ways to keep people safe and panhandlers away. Around 2015, the city put lava rocks by the tracks downtown to chase the encampments away. Now, they are doing it again along I-40 and it’s just one of the many measures popping up around town.
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“There’s been a high increase and high demand for more fencing in the city. There’s been a fluctuation of crime there’s a lot of break-ins due to the homeless around here and I feel that that’s a corresponding sentiment to local businesses,” said B&B Construction & ABQ Fencing Manager, Vince Frenes.
The city is also putting up more fences along I-40 and Eubank. The Solid Waste Department says they have partnered with City Councilor Don Harris and the state to install the fencing to keep people away from the interstate and have also added lava rocks on various medians along interstate corridors as well.
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Some businesses like the Walgreens on Central Ave. and Girard Blvd., which can’t do fencing, are trying something else. They’re playing music nonstop outside to prevent loitering.
With the lava rocks being placed throughout town, the city says it helps prevent erosion. It is unclear what it will all cost. The most recent survey by the New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness shows the number of people sleeping on the streets has doubled over the past five years.