ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – If you’ve driven around Albuquerque, you’ve likely noticed some weeds and trash outside abandoned commercial buildings. It’s a common sight in town despite the city’s years of pushing to crack down on them.

On Wednesday, KRQE News 13 drove down Central from Atrisco to Juan Tabo and found abandoned vacant buildings that aren’t hard to spot. One Albuquerque resident who lives across the street from a partially vacant strip mall said he notices abandoned properties across town.

“It’s kind of like a movie. When you’re driving, we don’t live in a ghost town but then you see them and it’s kind of like what happened? We shouldn’t be that way,” Henry Martinez, who lives in Albuquerque said.

In April, the city said it was going after private problem properties again after backing off during the pandemic. On Wednesday, the city’s planning department said it had never backed off going after problem commercial properties during the pandemic. Martinez wants them cleaned up soon.

“It’d be great to get a business in there but definitely cleaned up. I know there’s some that aren’t vacant, maybe they can get security,” he said. A few years ago, the city passed an ordinance to crack down on problem properties. Two years later in 2019, city councilor Pat Davis said it had helped demolish or clean up 40 top problem properties.

In 2018, Mayor Tim Keller announced a big push to crackdown on problem properties, putting red tags on properties. KRQE asked the planning department how many properties had been demolished or cleaned up since then, but couldn’t get that information in time.

In an August 2020 press conference, the city highlighted its renewed efforts to manage nuisance properties while promising to ramp up enforcement and demolition of problematic neighborhood buildings. At the time, the planning department said it was monitoring 300 properties.

KRQE asked for a current list of vacant properties the department is monitoring and was told they don’t keep lists of vacant properties as it is not required by law. A spokesperson said if they get a complaint about a problematic property, then they go investigate it. According to city council records, 12 commercial or private buildings have been considered for demolition so far this year.