Graffiti on the bathroom walls at North Domingo Baca Park and trash littering Ventura Street are a regular problem for residents living in the far Northeast Heights.
Although the far Northeast Heights is known for having few crime problems, the area is far from being problem-free. From Oct. 13 to Nov. 14, there were 15 incidents reported in the Heritage East neighborhood on crimemapping.com, reaffirming there are few incidents in the area when compared to other parts of Albuquerque, but a good indicator trouble makers are still lingering about.
A Nov. 14 Facebook post on the Albuquerque Crime Watch Community group page pokes fun at the neighborhood for its crime-free reputation. The meme shows a cop car on blocks with missing tires. In bold letters at the top of the post it says, “You won’t see this at Heritage East.”
Daniel Martinez, president of the Heritage East Association of Residents, said it’s not all rainbows and unicorns.
“Heritage East has its own set of problems. Vandalism, littering and petty theft are just a few that top the list consistently,” Martinez said in a direct message. “However, I think one of the biggest deterring factors is that Heritage East is a community made up of neighbors that communicate with each other. Also, there are many neighbors that have exterior cameras and home surveillance systems that discourage any type of criminal behavior or any other activity.”
Dumping ground and graffiti
Paul Jessen, HEAR secretary and good samaritan who regularly picks up trash along Ventura and around Heritage Hills Park, posts pictures of items he finds on Twitter and NextDoor. In an Oct. 31 message, he asks if the Neighborhood Journal could look into a dumping ground near North Domingo Baca Park.
“Scott, any interest in following up on the dumping of residential trash on a field south of Domingo Baca community center on Carmel?” Jessen asks. “I posted several items related to trash dumps!”
Many of the items Jessen found include tossed mail addressed to people living in the northwest part of Albuquerque with their names still on the envelopes.
“Here are some additional photos of the trash dump off Carmel,” Jessen wrote. “There are several items in the trash which gives a clue as to where the trash came from …”
In addition to the trash, the bathrooms at North Domingo Baca Park are regularly vandalized. The women’s bathroom on the west side of the park was spray painted with vulgarities and words that read, “Oh No. There’s writing In your Nice Park Bathroom -ANASAZI-“
One park-goer who pointed the vandalism out said she was disgusted. “This is why we can’t have anything nice,” she said.
A search on seeclickfix.com, a site that tracks 311 calls to the city, shows a picture of the bathroom graffiti and a note saying the vandalism was reported and the issue closed on Nov. 7.
On Monday, Nov. 14, a look inside the bathrooms revealed a couple spray paint marks on the men’s side, an overflowing trash bin and feces smeared on the rim of the toilet. The walls were painted over, but there were signs the culprits had already returned and were waiting to strike again.
File a report
The city’s crime prevention webpage says vandalism can increase fears about safety and reduce property values. “Its presence can also signify to criminals that residents don’t care about their neighborhood. With patience and persistence we can clean up Albuquerque together.”
The site encourages residents to call Crime Stoppers at 843-STOP to report known vandals or to call an APD area command substation. Vandalism can also be reported by calling 311 or filling out an online form through the city’s graffiti removal program. The city also provides a way to file an online police report, to include auto vandalism and the damaging or defacing of public or private property.