City get influx of reports of abandoned shopping carts

News

It’s common to see shopping carts where they’re not supposed to be across Albuquerque, and the city said it’s not always responsible for the cleanup.

Shopping carts are often wheeled away from stores and left on busy corners, in local parks and scattered throughout homeless camps.

“Stranded carts just left everywhere around this area,” Johnny Marrujo of Albuquerque said.

People are sick of it.

In just the first three weeks of the new year, more than 40 reports have come into Albuquerque’s 311 center about dumped shopping carts.

“It says something about how we’re not taking care of our streets and not cleaning it up,” Marrujo added.

The city’s planning department said when a cart is abandoned, who picks it up all depends on where it ended up.

“It’s considered litter. It’s considered trash,” Carmelina Hart with the Planning Department explained.

It’s the responsibility of the property owner.

But, if the cart is in a city park or right of ways — like public sidewalks — the city will step in and dispose of it with other trash at solid waste.

The big chains, like Smith’s, say cart thefts are a big problem for businesses.

A Smith’s representative said in the coming months, it plans to expand its number of Albuquerque stores with carts that lock if taken too far from the store.

“There’s always concern about carts potentially leaving the property,” Smith’s Corporate Affairs Manager Aubriana Martindale said.

The city also said it hopes a new homeless housing voucher program will help lower the number of abandoned shopping carts.

“This allows people to have somewhere to put their stuff so they’re not putting all of their belongings in a cart,” Hart said of the program.

Property owners who don’t remove abandoned carts from their property will get a notice from the city, but the city said it will never escalate to a fine.
    
The stores are also not fined for losing them.

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