ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Residents in a small New Mexico town have been dealing with a problem in their tight knit community.
Now, the Belen community is banding together to clean up their city.
“It might be illegal dumping, it might be stealing of a car, it might be someone dealing drugs on the corner,” Joe Saiz said.
He people who live in Belen have grown concerned about the kind of crimes taking place.
“Unfortunately, Belen is ranked one of the highest in New Mexico as far as crime goes,” said Pastor David Guerrero.
Residents say they’ve dealt with scary situations.
“I had a dear friend that was broken into,” Traci Morerod explained. “The gentleman that broke into her home held a gun to her children’s heads and so after hearing that I knew something had to be done.”
Morerod started the Belen Community Watch.
People in this small town say they’re not going to let the criminal win.
“We want to clean up our community, we want to have pride on our community, we want to have pride in what we do,” MacPherson explained.
So, they’ve taken action, creating neighborhood groups like the Belen Community Watch, which connects neighbors to one another, encouraging everyone to keep their eyes peeled for a suspicious activity.
There’s also the Belen Community Action group, working to bridge the gap between residents, police and city leaders to find solutions.
“People are becoming aware and looking out for one another,” MacPherson said.
These residents say in order to turn things around, they’ll need strength in numbers.
“I know that when you clean up areas, crime has a tendency to go down.”
Volunteers of all ages this weekend filled several large dumpsters as part of the Belen B Project, a cleanup event organized by Belen resident, Felicia Garcia.
She noticed the massive amounts of trash, tires, and even needles around the popular walking spot.
“They’re informing their kids and letting them know what a community is about and how to get together and how to change something,” Garcia explained.
The Belen Community Action Group is working on setting up meetings with city leaders and getting input from community members.