Wednesday, August 6, 2014

National Night Out and the Decay of a Neighborhood

The entire purpose of National Night Out is to get people to care about their local community. If more eyes are on the street than less crime happens. You would think that a mayor would want communities on the edge of troubled areas to be the first to have gatherings on such a night. You would think that the mayor would reach out to community groups that were falling a part to help them to develop the network to have strong neighborhood associations. With Mayor Berry and the communities that surround the International district in the Southeastern part of the City of Albuquerque you would be entirely wrong.

Parkland Hills Neighborhood association is just one example of a group that has falling by the wayside during the administration of Mayor Berry due to a lack of caring and administrative support. The Parkland Hills Neighborhood Association has not updated it website since December of 2013. It did not put on a gathering during National Night Out. This neighborhood association is on the fringes of an area of the city that has been in a downward spiral since the beginning of the Great Recession. The first major business to go in that area was a movie rental store on the corner of Kathryn and San Mateo. Next was the Lovelace Hospital. Lastly, came all the small stores along San Mateo between Kathryn and Gibson along with the local branch of the Bank of the West.

The bank moved because it became unsafe for people to work in that neighborhood across for the old hospital site. Customers were being approached by aggressive homeless people at the teller machine. Drugs were being sold out of the local McDonald’s parking lot on the corner of Gibson and San Mateo. The local Seven-Eleven on Kathryn and San Mateo was selling tall cans of beer to individuals who clearly had a drinking problem. Police can be seen next to that store on a weekly base. The City would do nothing to stop the behavior. The Mayor moved a needle exchange into the neighborhood down the street on San Mateo. Businesses like payday loan companies started to move into the strip along San Mateo.

The homeless are beginning to spend more time moving into the Parkland Hills neighborhoods. It started a few years ago when people in the neighborhood notices that businesses along the West side of San Mateo were being broken into for their cash. Drug addicts were shooting up behind the stores. Within a few months one car wash was just out of business because of all the break-ins. Next it was the laundry facilities at a local apartment complex where individuals were breaking in to get the quarters. Before long groups of homeless individuals were crossing the streets every morning to invade the nicer neighborhoods looking for places to break into and just hanging out. On one occasion you would have saw a homeless women wrapped in an old dirty blanket ambling down Ridgecrest Drive while being passed by well-dressed joggers. Parkland Hills is an older neighborhood with residents in their later stages of life. This makes them a prime target for drug addicts looking for an easy mark. Yet, you see a mayor who cares nothing for the community. He is too busy dumping sex offenders in the streets across San Mateo to be bothered with what it is doing to an old neighborhood in that area.