The only guy I know that lived around ABQ lived in rio rancho and liked it. There was another guy my uncle was friends with that lived up on the mountain in a subdivision but I can't remember the name of it. Best of luck with the move! A lot of my family lives in the Farmington area so not too far away. Good hunting in the area
It's been a few (11) years since I was there, but I don't think it's changed too much based on what I've heard from people who've been or come from there recently...
Ditto on Rio Rancho, that was the nice part of town for us average joes, nice shopping, some really nice restaurants, that kind of stuff. IBM and some of the other big name computer hardware companies have plants there, so pretty well educated population that makes decent money, etc. and the type of town that goes along with it.
If you've got a bit of money to spend on a place, there are some really nice outlying areas, nice sized houses on a couple of acres, or up on the base of the mountain there (I forget the name of it), with views of the city.
If you're into wide open spaces, maybe want to build a place, there's all kinds of stuff, the outskirts of Rio Rancho, Belen, etc. Lots of subdivisions that were planned back in the 70s, but never got past the planning stages. You can buy land cheap, lots of tax auctions in those places. Main thing in those places is making sure you have water.
Albuquerque itself is older and a highish crime area, lots of drug use, petty theft, that kind of stuff. I was out there for military training and we were briefed not to leave anything we valued in our cars when we were in town. It was pointed out to us that if you ever watch Cops, Albuquerque PD shows up regularly.
But, they do have a Waffle House and a Cracker Barrel, which is more than I can say for California...