Northern New Mexico residents use Facebook to combat burglaries

ESPANOLA, N.M. (KRQE) – Northern New Mexico residents in the Espanola area are fed up with seemingly constant burglaries in their community, but they’re using social media to fight back.

The page is called Stopping Residential Burglaries, and residents say it’s helping them take back the fight to stop criminals in their own backyards.

Sara Rivas is a single mother of three young girls and a college student working hard to provide for her family. Back in March she arrived home to find it ransacked.

“They had taken all my TVs, my laptop, three jewelry boxes”, said Rivas.

The thieves got away with much more than just the family’s belongings.

Rivas said, “My biggest fear was will they come back and are me and my kids gonna be safe, I don’t have a window, I don’t have any protection.”

Rivas said she knows the police can only do so much to help, so she turned to the Facebook page. She, like other residents, can post tips about crime in the area, a type of virtual neighborhood watch. Everything from warning others about break-in’s to stolen pets. There’s even a post about someone stealing a deck right from their home.

But, The Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Department says there is something on this page that is alarming to them. Residents are posting warnings about specific individuals and linking them to those crimes, something they caution users against doing.

“Give us the information let us gather everything that we need to do so we can effect warrants and make arrests and solve these crimes”, said Lt. Randy Sanches.

A process these residents vow to continue to play an important role in.

“We’re gonna take our community back, we’re not gonna sit there and let this happen”, said Rivas.

More than 500 people are currently members of this group. The Sheriff’s Department says they hope more people continue to join, because the leads and information have been very valuable. The page was started by one of their deputies last year who wanted to give the community a tool to help protect each other.

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