LL neighborhood meets with police about crime

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Los Lunas residents expressed concerns about a rise in property crimes in their neighborhood despite the contention by Los Lunas Police that the level of crime in the village has remained the same over the past year.

Last month, a group of about 40 residents from the Western Heights Neighborhood, located south of Home Depot, met with Los Lunas law enforcement to talk about what they said is a spike in break-ins.

Delberta Nemitz, a member of the Western Heights Neighborhood Watch, said break-ins in her area have gone up so far in 2012. She said a lot of the break-ins happen while people are at work.

"Some people think it will never happen to (them)," Nemitz said, "but that is the chance they take."

Los Lunas Police Lt. Vince Torres and Detective Johnny Capelli showed residents a slide show of tips on how they could better secure their homes. Torres said residents need to make sure they are communicating with one another to lessen the likelihood of potential break-ins.

Torres said residents should always report suspicious activity in their area.

"My goal is educating them and making them aware of what they can do," Torres said.

He said burglars will hit homes with the least amount of resistance, and residents should take time to evaluate their homes to better secure doors and windows.

He warned residents not to leave keys out in the open and to remember to turn on outside lights.

"When a light turns on, that gets somebody's attention," Torres said.

Torres said residents can buy signs that say there is an alarm system when there actually isn't to deter burglars.

Resident Michael Ortiz said there has been an influx of criminal activity in his neighborhood. He said he had cameras installed around his home after he was burglarized.

Ortiz said police need to make more regular patrols in the area.

"I seldom see a patrol car coming down my street," Ortiz said.

But Sue Williams, a resident who has lived in the neighborhood for 14 years, said her neighbor was burglarized on Christmas Day. She said people who live around her watch out for vehicles or people that they don't recognize.

"We have a network of neighbors," Williams said. "We try and look out for each other."

Law enforcement officials say lights on timers are good deterrents for criminals.

Residents asked whether they should look for a certain age group when looking out for potential criminals.

"There is not an age I can tell you," Torres said. "The fact of the matter is if you see something that is out of the ordinary ― call the police."

Torres said burglars are stealing jewelry since the price of metal is high at cash-for-gold stores in the area.

Williams said she plans to work with members of her Neighborhood Watch to ensure that crime goes down.

"We know our neighbors and what's supposed to be there," Williams said.


-- Email the author at bruffner@news-bulletin.com.