Descriptive sign draws attention to downtown Albuquerque’s homeless problem

There’s an eye-catching and very descriptive sign downtown, speaking to the homeless. It’s gotten a lot of attention, but not from the people it’s aimed at.

In just eight words, the sign says a lot. The company Big Byte planted it in the ground in 2008, but they say it hasn’t made one bit of a difference.

“It is a growing problem and something needs to be done about it,” said local Josh Deleon.

It’s common to cross paths with the homeless in downtown Albuquerque. The city has battled the issue for years.

“We have so many people who come in, like disturb the peace over here,” said JC’s New York Pizza Department server Avery Vernon.

Nevertheless, it continues, and it’s affecting local businesses.

“I feel kind of sad for the homeless people not having a bathroom,” said Justin Stewart, who works nearby. “They’ve actually defecated on our building before a few times, and there’s feces there right now.”

This comes, despite this sign. A decade ago, the data company Big Byte, located off Second and Central, took matters into its own hands, putting up this colorful and descriptive sign.

“Yeah, I’ve seen it for at least a year,” said Stewart.

The sign certainly draws attention, but apparently not from the people it’s aimed at.

“I don’t think they really care about the signs, that’s the thing,” said Vernon.

Even if other businesses follow Big Byte’s lead and put up similar signs, people feel it won’t do much more other than spell out downtown’s disgusting issues.

“I don’t think the sign would matter, but I wouldn’t mind having it either,” said Vernon.

“I don’t know if it helps it or deter it, but I think it’s their attempt to say, ‘Hey, be civil with our place, we pay for it,'” said Stewart.

The city said it’s trying to get a better grip on the problem by expanding resources, opening year-round shelters, and putting more officers on patrol just to name a few.

Since the sign has been up, it has gotten attention on social media, and not for it’s designed purpose. It is now featured on some tourist sites recommending people to stop by and see the sign during their trip to Albuquerque.

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