ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Two more homicides were reported in Albuquerque early Tuesday morning. One was at a motel. Mayor Tim Keller and the Chief of Police said crime at local motels is becoming a concerning trend. “We obviously had two homicides this morning and our team is working on them,’ said Mayor Keller.
At a press conference, Mayor Keller and Albuquerque Police Department Chief Medina said they’re working on plans to curb violent crime in the city but add they’re seeing a pattern. “The majority of homicides in Albuquerque are very specific,” said the Mayor. “They’re tied to drugs, they’re tied to guns and they’re tied to motels and they happen from midnight to five am and they usually involve males between 25 to 35.”
On Tuesday, APD responded to two homicides. One was at the 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. So KRQE News 13 requested the call sheets from 2019 to now for five locations off Hotel Circle near Eubank and I-40. An area that some say has developed a bad reputation. “There’s a lot of homeless, there’s a lot of crime,” said local Rebecca Whitlock. “It’s mostly small stuff, there’s a lot of petty theft.”
Albuquerque Fire Rescue alone responded to 406 calls to these hotels. About half of the calls were to the Siegel Suites. Emergency calls for police are much higher. APD had 2,554 calls to those same five hotels in the past three years. About half of their calls were also to the Siegel Suites. “It’s a little sad, it’s a little scary but it’s not surprising,” said Whitlock. “This side of town is just rough.”
Many of the calls are for disturbances, welfare checks, and suspicious people. But the call sheets also show officers on the scene for violent crimes. “I don’t know of any single hotel in town that’s renting to a person that’s going to commit a homicide, that’s not a question we can ask at registration,” said the CEO of Premier Hospitality, Imesh Vaidya.
He said the hotels he knows of are taking all the right safety measures to make sure they collect credit card and car information from their guests and have surveillance cameras. But Vaidya believes this issue is rooted much deeper than where the crimes are happening. “The crime in Albuquerque is a society problem, not a hotel problem,” said Vaidya. “We can go ahead and close every hotel in town and the crime rate will stay the same.”
Mayor Keller said there’s not one single answer to make all violent crime disappear but they’re working with local and state agencies to find ways to cut it down. APD 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 spiking.