Editor’s note below

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque parks are getting a lot more security to help cut down on crime and make these spaces more welcoming for families. Part of that is a more than half-million-dollar investment for security guards.

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The parks director said it’s the first year in recent memory the city has hired security guards to watch over local parks. “We want to deter vandalism, we want to deter unauthorized illegal encampments, and you know in some cases, help keep parking lots and areas around pools also safer,” the city’s Parks and Recreation Director Dave Simon explained.

The city recently announced it’s investing nearly $800,000 more into park safety, coming from the general fund for Fiscal Year 2022. About $580,000 of that is paying for 10 dedicated metro security officers at parks and rec facilities, including parks, skate parks, and pools.

KRQE News 13 saw three of the Department of Municipal Development’s officers at Wilson Park on Wednesday. The goal is to help deter illegal activity, and that includes the officers clearing the parks at night and closing the gates.

“The metro security officers can also help us with limiting encampments in parks and in some cases they’re able to encourage people to move along. In other cases where they need assistance, they can call APD,” Simon added.

Online records show Albuquerque police have cited 11 people over the past two weeks related to issues at parks. That includes homeless camping out and leaving trash at Martineztown Park off I-40 and Edith; others partying late at night and in possession of drugs and open containers of alcohol at Morningside Park in Nob Hill, and others camping out after hours at Wilson Park near Kirtland Air Force Base.

There were no citations given out in the two weeks prior. APD officers are also still patrolling parks regularly.

The city is investing another $200,000 this year for more lighting at 17 city parks in dark corners, near walking paths, around athletic fields, and in parking lots.

Editor’s note: In the video, the reporter is said to be reporting live from Kit Carson Park. That is incorrect. That park was renamed Rio Grande Park.