ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Officials are now warning hikers after a spike in car break-ins at the Petroglyph National Monument. Almost all the crime is happening at just one of the trailheads.
Park officials are recommending people consider hiking in other areas of the monument. “It’s a great time to visit the monument right now, it’s beautiful weather. The trails are beautiful but don’t leave anything in your vehicles,” said Superintendent of Petroglyph National Monument, Nancy Hendricks.
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The monument is concerned about an increase in car break-ins happening over the last few months. “It’s very troubling for us to have our visitors and community members come out to the monument, have their things stolen from them,” Hendricks said.
She says almost all of last year’s break-ins happened at the isolated Rinconada Canyon Trailhead. “Unfortunately, we had 15 break-ins across the monument last year and comparatively to other places, that may seem low but 11 of those were at Rinconada and that’s a concern for us,” Hendricks said.
She says thieves are targeting cars with valuables inside and adds 70% of the break-ins at Rinconada are vehicles with out-of-state plates. “I would recommend if you have a car full, if you’re moving or traveling through the area with luggage, extra things in your car that you can’t put out of sight — I would probably go to Piedras Mercadas or Boca Negra Canyon is a good option for walking,” Hendricks said.
People hiking through Rinconada aren’t shocked by the warning. “Well, I’m not surprised. I mean, I don’t own a home here but you hear stuff,” said visitor Robert Harnack.
The national monument is working hard to protect its reputation and visitors by adding more staff and patrols. “We don’t want anyone who visits the monument to have a vehicle break-in. It’s just not a pleasant experience and it really leaves a bad mark on the monument when that happens,” Hendricks said.
The national monument says if you see any suspicious activity to call their dispatch at 928-638-7805.