Home News Belen residents raise concern over growing crime problem near neglected NMDOT property

Belen residents raise concern over growing crime problem near neglected NMDOT property

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Belem, New Mexico – The towering weed problem in the Belem area continues to grow literally out of hand.

The State Department of Transportation purchased several properties near the BNSF railroad several years ago. It’s all because people involved in the construction project say it won’t even start until next year.

People who live nearby say the state did nothing to preserve the land during that time. Now overgrown with weeds about 15 feet high, they claim it has contributed to crime in the area.

KOB 4 brought this up first more than 2 weeks agoNMDOT said it was working on dispatching maintenance personnel, but it does not appear to have been done yet.

“I have never seen BNSF, the Sheriff’s Department, or anyone coming to investigate the weed problem themselves,” said concerned Belem resident Stephen Ferguson.

NMDOT purchased land for a major road and rail project years ago, but work on it won’t really start until next summer.

“We have reached out to get an update on what the construction timeline will be, but have not heard back,” Ferguson said.

Meanwhile, all state-purchased land remains untouched.

A little over two weeks ago, the tallest weeds were nearly 10 feet. That’s also when the New Mexico Department of Transportation told KOB 4 they were working on hiring a contractor to clean everything up.

“I’m not here 24 hours a day, but I was here quite often and no one showed up,” Ferguson said. “Worse, as we said two weeks ago, they are now 12 to 15 feet tall in some places.”

Ferguson worries that he and his neighbors are hiding crime in the weeds.

“All the criminals around here break into our houses almost every night. They’ve broken the windows, they’ve broken into the house, stripped all the wires, loosened all the countertops, things are missing, and there’s quite a bit of vandalism going on here,” Ferguson said. rice field.

NMDOT said it plans to send a crew to demolish the house in November. But Ferguson says something needs to be done now.

“This is unacceptable. I am sure there is a lot of money coming from the state and federal government to build this bridge. Hmm, something needs to be done,’ he said.

An NMDOT spokesperson said the area’s supervisor has scheduled a maintenance crew to be dispatched to clean the lot soon, but he is currently short-staffed.

NMDOT said it plans to send its own maintenance personnel to help, but that could take another two weeks.

Officials also say they are not aware of any new complaints filed through the website.

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