BELEN, N,M, (KRQE) – As the small City of Belen is dealing with an uptick in crime, their former mayor and local business owner is leading the charge. He’s hoping the city council can make some changes and help the police department crack down on a spree of recent burglaries.
“Belen is a great place to live. It’s a great place to have a business. It’s a great place. The neighbors, everybody cares about you, everybody watches over you,” Former Belen Mayor, Ronnie Torres said. He owns Hair Innovations Salon in Belen.
“It’s a small town just like many years ago, but we just have a small issue going on now so we need to take care of that,” he said, adding the talk around the salon, the uptick in crime.
“It’s disgusting to see how everything has changed,” he said.
Torres says burglaries have plagued the city.
“In the last couple years, I’ve been broken into five times and that’s just crazy. It’s like, you go to work, just so you can buy things so people can go steal from you,” Torres said.
FBI crime records for Belen show 136 burglaries in 2014, 110 in 2015 and so far this year, about 200 according to the News Bulletin.
“I spoke with the Chief of Police and they’re short staffed because there’s not enough funding to hire enough officers or security people if they can’t hire officers,” Torres said.
Now Torres is issuing a callout, telling anyone who has experienced a burglary, to tell the city council.
“I’m hoping that the city council and that the mayor will realize that we do have an issue here and we’re not blaming anyone other than we don’t have the authority to allocate more money to the police department, but they do,” Torres said.
He added he has hope his hometown of Belen will soon feel safe again.
“We need to take our community back, we need to feel safe like we used to.”
KRQE News 13 reached out to the current chief of police for comment but didn’t hear back.
Torres has plans to address the city council on November 7th.