Crime on the Rise in One El Paso Area


POSTED: Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - 6:14pm

UPDATED: Thursday, October 28, 2010 - 8:13am

The "Second Safest City" label, may be a moniker to be proud of, but it may be keeping some much needed patrol off our streets. And one area in particular is suffering.

The Pebble Hills area continues to expand, while the crime continues to grow.

"We need about 100 more officers to be adequately staffed," said Pebble Hills Commander Patrick Maloney.

Pebble Hills has seen a 3% increase in crime since this time last year. It's the only region that's seen an increase. Maloney says assaults and robberies are driving their crime numbers.

"We have more nightclubs that have opened up, more bars, and that generates more assaults," Maloney said. He also said the population in the region has gone up by about 25% in the last 10 years. They also have the highest volume of calls. So if you're calling about something minor, like a loud party, it may be a while until a unit can come out.

"Sometimes we can't make it to those calls for 4, 5, or 6 hours," Maloney said.

We checked the police-to-person ratio here in El Paso versus other cities. El Paso has a rate of 1.4 officers per 1,000 people. In comparison, Austin has 2 per 1,000. In order to achieve Austin's ratio, we'd need about 120 more officers.

"I'm led by the fact that we do have that safe city designation," said district 7 city representative Steve Ortega. He says because public safety already represents 65% of the city's budget. The city can't afford to add more officers to the force while keeping the tax rate the same.

"You're not going to be able to have that low tax rate and continue to fully fund law enforcement so we have to strike a balance," he said.

To offset the need for more officers, they've started handling more cases over the phone and they are overlapping officers' schedules to reduce the backlog of cases.

"We're doing the best we can and we know that," Maloney said.

Pebble Hills also wants to cut down on its traffic collisions. The list of intersections with the highest number of collisions just came out; over half of those intersections are in the Pebble Hills region.

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One of the reasons that we have collisions in that area is that Yarbrough is one of the most used streets and it is one of the darkest. When are the lights going to go up? Crime would also
go down with better lighting.



Lets cut the east side out of el paso, and give it to Juarez. What El Paso needs is to get ALL THE POPULATION, a full college education. This will take a lot of money and guidance. But the government has programs to keep cost down. This is a better idea than watching the crime rate go up, and just fight the end result, being broke and desperate. Why are the people committing the crimes, because of a lack of education.

Remember when City Manager Joyce Wilson said we need to cut the police budget? She seems to have been looking at her crystal ball and saw that the future was going to be all rainbows and unicorns. With Fort Bliss expansion and men trained to kill moving into our neighborhoods why would you not feel safe? That ball must have needed new batteries that day. Darn missed it by that much. Way to see how our little town is growing into a city.

With the influx of troops and the Juarez refugees, Pebble Hills is a preview of things to come for all of El Paso. Mr. Ortega, get used to spending 65 or more percent of the budget on fire and police services and cutting down on your pet projects! Or do you want to live like in Juarez, with 20 murders a day but surrounded by bronze monuments and giant flags?

If the city knows it needs some additional officers why can't the rework some of the funding and allocate some of those new found funds towards adding more police officers. What we can't afford as a city is to allow crime levels to "creep" towards levels that will end up costing more to fund. In fact I'm interested in becoming a police officer but no annoucements have been made towards hiring.

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