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Mayor Keller, Councilor Davis Announce Nuisance Action against Sahara Motel to Protect Public Safety

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller and City Councilor Pat Davis today announced the City has begun the process to declare the Sahara Motel on Gibson Boulevard a public nuisance and to begin legal proceedings on the property.

ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller and City Councilor Pat Davis today announced the City has begun the process to declare the Sahara Motel on Gibson Boulevard a public nuisance and to begin legal proceedings on the property.

“The Sahara Motel has been a crime hotspot for far too long,” stated Mayor Keller. “We worked together to take action in the interest of public safety so that nearby neighbors can begin to see a change in the constant criminal activity at this property. We’re attacking crime from all sides because everyone in our city deserves to feel safe.”

In the complaint, the City alleges that despite repeated attempts to work with the owners of the motel, no significant efforts have been made to maintain the property in a manner which does not create a nuisance to the City. The motel has a long history of attracting serious crimes.

“When the community and APD alerted me of the problems that persist at the Sahara Motel, despite multiple attempts to work with the owner, I knew we needed to take fast and drastic action,” said Councilor Davis. “Working with Safe City Strike Force, the City Attorney’s Office, and the Mayor’s office we built the case to declare this property a public nuisance, a step rarely taken, but one needed to force action in this situation.”

Moving forward, the City will request a hearing from the court regarding a restraining order that has been filed against the property. The restraining order seeks to close the property immediately and for it to remain closed until the lawsuit is finished.

Background:
•    Over the course of 2016 and 2017, law enforcement has responded to approximately 400 calls for service to the property
•    Since October 2017, the property has had 22 calls for service ranging from suspicious person calls, to shots fired, to domestic disturbances
•    A homicide took place at the property on February 1, 2018
•    Calls to the Albuquerque Police Department consist of incidents of domestic violence, theft, shootings, dead bodies, public disturbances, vandalism, and drug use/possession
•    Neighbors of the property regularly express grave concerns over their safety and welfare due to the dangerous, unsafe, and unmitigated conditions which are ongoing at the property

Due to the need for all residents to vacate the property, the City will offer housing vouchers to those with a legitimate need. If tenants are found to qualify for relocation cost assistance, the City has a partnership with St. Martin’s (a local non-profit) to help relocate displaced tenants.