ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s the heart of Albuquerque, and it’s where the city began. But like other parts of the Duke City, Old Town has seen a surge in crime.

The community met Wednesday night to turn problems into solutions. The event with City Councilor Isaac Benton and the Albuquerque Police Department was held at Romero Street Gallery.

The art gallery gladly welcomed KRQE News 13 to the event with open arms, but what started with one vocal objection by another Old Town merchant ended with the event being closed to press coverage.

“We’re here to find out about it, and work with our Area Command and APD, and hopefully come up with some community policing solutions to the concerns,” said Benton.

“Old Town is the heart of Albuquerque. It’s where Albuquerque started,” said Lisa Kinlen, owner of the Old Town Celtic Shop.

Her business was burglarized last week. Police arrested Devon Royal, 17, for the crime.

“There were 19, 22 stores that were involved in break-ins. One kid doing this?” she remarked, hoping the crime spree is over.

Denise Dubey, a manager of an art gallery in Old Town, said, “I was very appreciative of the job APD did for us.”

“This past year and a half, it’s gotten extremely difficult to function in Old Town,” she said.

“There was an infiltration of homeless and drug abusers, neglect to the Old Town area.” Dubey explained.

The business owners know that Old Town has thrived since 1776 and say it’ll survive this setback too.