Jim Wells County officials and a group of concerned citizens gathered on Wednesday evening to discuss concerns over narcotics, burglaries and other crimes that plague the Rancho Alegre area.
A group of approximately 30 people, including officials, addressed the consent crimes in the neighborhood and how they are tired of the criminal activity.
“What we want and need you to do is talk to your neighbors. Spread this out, that if they have a camera (system on their property) please call us,” said Lt. Alan Gonzalez with the JWC Sheriff’s Department. “We will assign (the system) a number that way we know, which is confidential. For in the future if your neighbor or yourself gets burglarized it’ll make our job easier in making an arrest.”
Gonzalez and JWC Sheriff Daniel Bueno reminded the citizens that they have something suspicious to report or they have information of a crime to call the department. Investigators will follow up with an investigation to make a community safer and protect property.
“You all work for your property. It’s hard labor...We work hard and I don’t think it’s fair that a guy who wants to feed his habit, arm or nose or smoke, goes out there to steal your property.”
Residents are aware of the crimes that go on in a neighborhood and many times they know exactly who the individuals committing the crimes are, but not everyone wants to press charges or even report the activity for fear of retaliation from the criminals, officials said.
Citizens expressed their concerns with officer response time, retaliation, and the never-ending cycle with criminals. Some citizens asked “when does it end?” Sheriff Bueno and his department vowed to look into these concerns.
Officials gave examples of how to deter criminals from thieves to drug dealers. Officials both from the sheriff’s department and the court systems explained the process that must be taken as part of the judicial system and that anyone arrested has the right to make bond.
JWC District Attorney Carlos Garcia and County Attorney Michael Guerra explained how their courts work and what they do to prosecute a criminal case.
Every county official urged citizens to be the best witness possible, to be vigilant. Officials told the citizens that they are “the eyes and ears’ of their community.
Citizens expressed their frustrations in what they believe is a never-ending cycle of violence in the neighborhood. At the end of the community meeting, citizens and officials had the opportunity to talk one on one about personal issues.