LAS CRUCES, Texas — Las Cruces business owners gathered Thursday to discuss their frustrations with city leaders they say fail to deal with high crime in their area.
The business owners vented frustrations over vandalism, theft, and safety threats. Some examples the business owners say they’ve faced are broken windows and stolen catalytic converters.
They say many of these incidents happen during the day and make their employees and their customers feel unsafe. They are calling on city leaders to stop the increase in crime.
“Now it’s come to us and it’s frightening us and we need to make a change,” says Wanda Bowman owner of Ashley Furniture Home store.
Bowman says she’s now armed with a taser to protect herself and her business after a man wandered on her property with a hatchet a few weeks ago.
Marci Dickerson owns Game 1 restaurant she’s spending tens of thousands of dollars on private security including a guard on a 20-foot riser.
“I’m up here due to the fact that I got to look for individuals that are breaking into vehicles,” said security guard Rico Martinez.
“You will find a security riser that we put it in that basically allows for our security to sit at 20 feet in the air to make sure that they can fully see and secure my parking lot and our neighbors,” said Marci Dickerson “and if we cannot get the leadership from our city council and our mayor and they cannot come out and protect each and every one of us business people, as well as homeowners then its time for us to all, do something.”
Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima says he believes there’s a revolving door of people who are arrested, quickly released, and then re-offend. He says judges have their hands tied by a state statute that keeps them from holding those arrested in detention for many cases.
“If we could have this verbiage and its basically as courts may determine that small sentence will help allow judges to have the discretion whether or not to hold somebody in jail for crime that they committed as opposed to letting them go,” said Miyagishima
“If you get arrested you’re in and you’re back out because our judges are turning people lose,” said Dickerson.
The Mayor is hoping that the issue of detention can be addressed at the next state legislative session.