August 13, 2008

Reaching out to immigrant victims of crime

8/13/2008 8:24 AM
By: News 8 Austin Staff

Crime isn't as prevalent at the NorthChase Apartments in North Austin because manager Jaime Ochoa does his best to encourage neighbors to put safety first and to report suspicious activity.

In light of the multiple home invasion robberies where immigrant men are the targets, Ochoa is concerned.

"That type of predator is preying on these people because he knows what their weaknesses are and more or less he knows how they're going to react," Ochoa said.

Which is to do nothing out of fear. So Tuesday night, Austin police focused their regular forum on the robberies, though the target audience which is the Spanish speaking men were not in attendance.

"It's a very different culture here between the community and the police department than it is in Mexico which they're accustomed to," Cmdr. Phil Crochet of the Austin Police Department said.

Ochoa said the Spanish speaking people do not attend the meetings because Spanish is not spoken.

"If you want the people and the community to attend and be a part of the effort to make it a safer place, they have to be spoken to in Spanish," Ochoa said.

Officers have gone door-to-door to inform people about the slew of robberies of late. They said outreach to Spanish speaking people take many forms.

Austin police say reaching immigrants is a challenge. APD said the best defense against being a victim is to keep your doors locked.

If you see suspicious activity, you should call 911 immediately.

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Should the Texas State Legislature pass immigration enforcement laws in 2009?