Crimes Against Hispanics - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

08/09/07-Lufkin

Crimes Against Hispanics

by Tashun Chism

Ino Reyes has lived in Lufkin for several years. Back when he lived in Houston, he noticed a lot Hispanics being targeted by robbers.

"A lot of the crimes against the Hispanics are by other races. It's because they think they've got cash. They know that most of the illegal's are not going to have a bank account," he said.

Reyes is glad that's not a major problem here in Lufkin. But a Hispanic victim was robbed at gunpoint earlier this week.

"There's a concern among law enforcement, not just in Lufkin but nationwide, that some of the crime is going unreported because the victims fear reprisal for their immigration status," said Lt. David Young of the Lufkin Police Department.

"That's what the criminal thinks to begin with. He says, 'if I can rob these guys and they're illegal's, they're not going to report that to the police because they afraid they're going to get deported,'" Reyes added.

Authorities tell us victims should not be afraid to report crimes.

"We want to lock criminals up. We don't want to deport victims. Regardless of their immigration status. We're not going to ask," Young said.

Reyes believes there are reasons Lufkin has been relatively free of crimes against Hispanics. Unlike in many larger cities, Hispanic residents aren't concentrated in only one area.He also says Lufkin police have a great relationship with the Hispanic community.

"They've had seminars in the past trying to get to know the community and their concerns. They have hired officers that are bilingual that are part of the community," Reyes told us.

Reyes is confident that as long as that relationship continues, Lufkin's Hispanic residents will remain safe.

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