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Justin Schatz is The Paper's daily news reporter. He has reported on New Mexico for KRQE News, Searchlight NM and the Santa Fe Reporter.

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“Take a Stand,” a cruise and potential protest organized by Albuquerque’s lowrider community, is set to take place in Downtown Albuquerque on Sunday. Organized by Josh Perez, a car-enthusiast and a proud member of Albuquerque’s lowrider community, the event seeks to protest what many perceive as an effort by APD to limit the iconic lowrider cruises in Downtown Albuquerque. APD has received complaints about noise and crime from Downtown residents in recent weeks, and many see the succession of cars that gather on Sunday as the culprit. APD asserts that this is not an effort to disrupt the lowriding community’s weekly cruises but to address an uptick of crime and shootings in the last few weeks. 

“What we are doing is more to address the people who are coming in from outside of downtown to primarily cause trouble and engage in illegal activities,” Gilbert Gallegos, Director of Communications and Community Outreach at APD, said. Gallegos noted that residents and property owners of Downtown have complained about the noise, the constant revving of engines late into the night, and gunshots. The Albuquerque Journal reported that APD is stepping up its efforts to crack down on the chaos that has unfolded the last few months. There have been reported shootings, sexual assaults, and noise from modified mufflers. To combat the increase in crime, Gallegos said that APD plans to increase the number of DWI checkpoints around Downtown and target and remove individuals who have modified exhausts, are racing, and are found to be in possession of weapons. Gallegos emphasized that APD is not attempting to limit the actions of the lowrider community.    

Perez is concerned that these actions will affect the routes of the lowrider community’s Sunday cruises. “We feel that we should have the right to go where we want,” Perez said. He is concerned that the actions of those outside of the community have placed unwarranted negative attention on the community. Perez reflected that cruises have been a weekly event since he was a kid, and the actions of a few should not ruin what so many have fought to preserve. “You get the people who are ruining it with the burnouts and shooting at each other, and that ain’t helping,” Perez added. 

Perez commented that APD should be doing more Downtown to support the lowrider community and prevent further crime. He proposed that officers join the cruises on Sunday to proactively prevent crime and other common complaints filed by Downtown residents. Perez also believes that APD should speak up in support of the lowrider community and their cruises on Sundays. When asked why he organized the event, Perez responded, “I’m doing this to show that it’s not us.”

According to Perez, the response to the event has been greater than he expected. He has received calls of support from lowriding communities from California and Nevada. The greater lowrider community views New Mexico as the spiritual center of the culture. Espanola has held the title of “Lowrider Capital of The World” since the 1980s. “Everybody knows that New Mexico is the lowrider capital,” Perez said when responding to the support he has received from out of state. 

“There’s an older crowd that is really upset with kids,” Perez said when asked about what the lowrider community thinks of the complaints aimed at them. When asked about the wave of crime and complaints in the last few months, Perez asked those who attend should go there for the cars and the lowriding tradition. “I’m asking people who do go down there to respect it,” Perez said.  

For those interested in the event, there is a Facebook page with further information

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