By Gitzel Puente. CREATED Oct 29, 2013
INDIO - Residents living on Sierra Avenue are scared for their safety; they claim crime has gone up on this street in the past few years.
"You can't leave anything outside now. My son can't even leave a skateboard. Both of his skateboards disappeared, his pogo stick, stupid stuff. They just come in through the backyard and they go shopping. It's like Wal-Mart for them," said Lee McCallum, a resident who has lived in the area for more than 40 years.
McCallum added the problem has become worse, not just petty thefts, but bigger crimes like burglaries and stolen cars. McCallum said the crimes mainly happen at night.
"There's been a lot of drug and gang activity in our neighborhood, and I don't know if that's a contribution," said McCallum.
One of her neighbors across the street installed surveillance cameras after his wife's car got stolen in September. Two days ago, he caught a man on camera lurking around his driveway peeking at his cars.
The Public Information Officer for Indio Police, Ben Guitron, said the data of this particular street does not reflect what residents are saying.
"We don't see a significant increase, but then again, we don't live on that street. We don't know what the issues in what the neighbors are viewing," expressed Guitron, "And have they communicated? There is an organized program that they can take advantage to make things better for them."
Guitron mentioned Neighborhood Watch, a crime prevention program residents should consider participating to help law enforcement be the "eyes and ears" of their community. Meanwhile, residents want more officers patrolling Sierra Avenue, something police say they'd love to do, but it's a matter of limited resources.
"I just think if they made their [police] presence a little well known. I mean, we shouldn't have to call them and ask them to do a drive-by when they have the records of the crime going on in this neighborhood. They know the problems that we have," said McCallum.