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Yuman unhappy with four-year string of crimes at residence
Henry Chavez is concerned about the safety of his father and little brother, he says, because crime is growing in his neighborhood.
Chavez, who lives in the 2100 block of Madison Avenue in Yuma, said his residence has been a target of burglaries going back to four years ago when his tools, worth $5,000, were stolen. Two years later, jewelry belonging to his daughter valued at $1,000 was taken, while about a year ago, an all-terrain vehicle was taken from his front yard.
Plus, within the past couple of months, Chavez said, some DVDs were stolen from his home, and jewelry and video games were taken in a burglary at his next-door neighbor's home.
Chavez said he thinks these crimes may be linked to a group of young men he said hang out in the neighborhood at night.
"Sometimes I stay up all night to see what I can see," Chavez said.
Chavez said his dad is bedridden and is on medication, while his younger brother stays home because he is epileptic. Chavez said his home and his father's home - which is next door to his - may be targets for these kinds of crimes because they are vulnerable.
Jared Sewell, who is currently living next door to Chavez, said Saturday night someone broke a window and stole about 50 Playstation 1 and 2 video games.
"From what I've seen, this is a pretty bad neighborhood," Sewell said. "That's why we have dogs.'
He said there are fights in the neighborhood along with gang and drug activity.
"This isn't where the winter visitors want to come," he added.
A neighbor who lives across the street said crime happens all over the place, not just in this neighborhood. And he said he trusts his neighbors to keep an eye on his property when he's not home and vice versa.
"You got to help each other out, or one of these days you'll be the victim," said the neighbor, who declined to identify himself. "All over the place, there's good people and there's bad people."
Several other neighbors interviewed by The Sun said they've had no problems with burglary or other crimes.
Yuma Police Department spokeswoman Leanne Worthen said in December and January, eight incidents of vehicle or residential burglaries and vehicle thefts occurred in the 2100 blocks of Maple, Madison and 1st avenues - which is in the neighborhood commonly called 'Okie Town.'
Worthen said the crimes plaguing Chavez's neighborhood are not uncommon elsewhere in the city.
Worthen encourages residents like Chavez to call the police department's crime prevention line at 373-4668. She said police need the residents' help in combating these kinds of crimes, because their tips can and have helped in finding the perpetrators.
She recounted one incident where a resident called police about a suspicious man sitting in a parked vehicle near the resident's home. When police approached him, they arrested him on previously issued warrants for burglary-related crimes.
Also, police use crime reports to pinpoint those neighborhoods where more regular patrols may be needed - and that attention can only be given when residents communicate with the department, she said.
Worthen added that Yuma police offers programs to help residents beef up the security of their homes, including a free residential security survey by a police officer.
The officer will check such things as whether the home has motion-sensitive lights and high-wattage bulbs outside; whether shrubs and trees around are trimmed and sheds properly secured; and if windows, sliding glass doors and other entry points can be removed easily or broken open. Residents may be advised to install an alarm system if officers feel it is necessary.
At the end of the inspection, the officer gives a list of suggested improvements to the resident.
Worthen said the department's aim is to do whatever is necessary to make it more difficult for a burglar to get into a home, vehicle or shed.
Jacob Lopez can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6872.