Local business repeatedly burglarized, blames city for crime problems

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) - The owners of two properties at the intersection of San Mateo and Kathryn say they have been burglarized and robbed six times since the beginning of 2018.

"It's very frustrating. We aren't numb to this at all. Every time it happens it sends your heart rate flying. You're frightened for your neighbors, you're frightened for what's happening around the community," said Elizabeth Johnson, owner of Don's Bookstore.

Johnson and her family also own the building right next door, which currently houses a Metro PCS store. Johnson says the Metro PCS store is the property that regularly gets robbed and burglarized.

"Damage to locks. Damage to doors. Damage to windows. Damage to bars that are protecting windows," said Johnson.

Johnson says she had exterior security cameras stolen from both properties. She also says she consistently sees drunk people stagger out of the 7-Eleven at San Mateo and Kathryn and wander into the neighborhood to cause trouble.

"I want to know why the city hasn't done anything to address it," said Johnson.

Johnson doesn't blame Albuquerque Police for the out-of-control crime in the neighborhood. She blames the city and more specifically, City Councilor Pat Davis. 

"Councilor Davis has ignored the problems that I've presented directly to him," said Johnson.

Johnson says she and her family are asking Councilor Davis to bring more police officers to the area, help pick up trash and shut down the problem-filled 7-Eleven, which is the site of hundreds of service calls a year.

Councilor Davis tells KRQE News 13, he's trying.

"There is no other neighborhood in Albuquerque where I've personally devoted more of my discretionary dollars," said Davis.

Davis gave KRQE News 13 emails that prove he is actively responding to the Johnsons' complaints and working with them to solve problems.

"It's frustrating because at the end of the day city council can only appropriate the money. It's up to the mayor and police chief to send police to respond," said Davis.

Davis says recently in that neighborhood he's worked to fund the real-time crime center, passed new legislation that gave APD new funding to help patrol the southeast quadrant better, and is in the community discussion phase of building a brand new police substation on San Mateo and Kathryn.

"We hear their concerns and I know they're frustrated, but at the same time there are other neighborhoods that are also asking for help," said Davis. 

Johnson is hopeful Davis' action help because she says the bookstore, which has been there for nearly 50 years, isn't going anywhere.

"We're staying. It doesn't matter how bad it gets. This bookstore will stand," said Johnson.

Next month, the Metro PCS store is moving out of the Johnsons' building, which may help with the number of break-ins. 

The city has tried to shut down the 7-11 before for selling alcohol to underage and intoxicated people but the state wouldn't allow it.


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