ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – Two more homicides were reported in Albuquerque early Tuesday morning. One was in a motel. Mayor Tim Keller and the police chief said crime in local motels was becoming a worrying trend. “We obviously had two homicides this morning and our team is working on it,” Mayor Keller said.
At a press conference, Mayor Keller and Albuquerque Police Department Chief Medina said they are working on plans to tackle violent crime in the city, but add that they see a tendency. “The majority of homicides in Albuquerque are very specific,” the mayor said. “They’re drug related, they’re gun related, and they’re motel related and they happen from midnight to five in the morning and usually involve men between the ages of 25 and 35.”
On Tuesday, the APD responded to two killings. One was at Motel 6 on I-25 and Avenida Cesar Chavez.
KRQE News 13 wanted to take a closer look at how often first responders are called to a handful of metro hotels and motels. KRQE News 13 has therefore requested call sheets from 2019 to today for five locations off the Circle Hotel, near Eubank and I-40. An area which, according to some, has developed a bad reputation. “There are a lot of homeless people, there is a lot of crime,” said local Rebecca Whitlock. “These are mostly little things, there are a lot of petty theft.”
Albuquerque firefighters alone responded to 406 calls to these hotels. About half of the calls were to the Siegel suites. Emergency calls to the police are much higher. APD has received 2,554 calls to these five hotels over the past three years. About half of their calls were also to Siegel suites. “It’s a little sad, it’s a little scary but it’s not surprising,” Whitlock said. “This side of town is just rough.”
Most of the calls are about disturbances, welfare checks and suspicious people. But call sheets also show officers at the scene for violent crimes. “I don’t know of any hotel in town that rents out to someone who is going to commit a homicide, that’s not a question we can ask when checking in,” Premier Hospitality CEO Imesh Vaidya said.
He said hotels he knew took all appropriate security measures to ensure they were collecting their customers’ credit card and car information and had surveillance cameras. But Vaidya believes that this problem runs much deeper than where the crimes occur. “Crime in Albuquerque is a social issue, not a hotel issue,” Vaidya said. “We can go ahead and close all the hotels in town and the crime rate will stay the same.”
Mayor Keller said there is no one answer to making all violent crime go away, but they are working with local and state agencies to find ways to reduce it. DPA chief Harold Medina added that they predicted we would surpass the city’s homicide record this year just by looking at crime nationwide, which is also rising.