ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Even late into the night, Lead Boulevard and Coal Boulevard stay busy east of I-25. But lose the headlights and good luck seeing anything. Many of the street lights on that stretch of road aren’t doing their job.
“As it is, you know, in broad daylight, you run a risk of being hit by an automobile in Albuquerque anyway,” said John Montoya. “Walking along at night, if you’re not alert, I could see how someone could be hit easily.”
A few blocks north in Nob Hill, there are plenty of bright lights lining Central Avenue, but there are also plenty that aren’t working.
“For at least two or three months it’s been really dim out on this corner,” said Matt Reisen near Central and Amherst.
“It’s very frustrating because it does cost us money,” said Melissa Lozoya, deputy director with Albuquerque’s Department of Municipal Development. “The citizens that live in the area, they feel that their security is compromised.”
Lozoya says a lot of the time, the lights aren’t working because of copper thieves.
“When the thieves come they damage some of the infrastructure and so it tends to take us a little time to get that replaced,” Lozoya said. “This year it seems to be on the rise and I think a lot of that has to do with what they’re getting for the copper when they go to recycle it.”
Although it’s a citywide issue, Lozoya says Nob Hill and the Lead-Coal corridor near Nob Hill have been a target of late. While the city couldn’t get KRQE News 13 numbers on how frequent of a problem it truly is in time for this story, city spokesperson Mark Motzko estimates the city spent around $100,000 fixing lights in the last year.
Lozoya says steps are being taken to cut down on the frustrating crime.
“When they do steal the copper we look at replacing it with aluminum, which is not as desirable,” Lozoya said. “We’re looking at providing some type of locking mechanism on the light poles.”
If you see street lights out, the city encourages you to report them through 3-1-1.