POSTED: Friday, January 6, 2012 - 3:47pm
UPDATED: Friday, January 6, 2012 - 8:55pm
SOCORRO - In the age of smartphones and navigation systems, we can get to any destination easily. But, that's only if the place you're looking for has a clearly-marked, visible address. There's one borderland community where that's not always the case. City leaders there are now doing something about it.
If you're driving around Socorro, it can be frustrating finding your destination. Many homes in Socorro don't have address signs on them. The city's police department says that becomes a problem in emergency situations.
"Probably at least half the time there isn't a posted address out front that we can look for," said Lt. Jose Alvarez, from the Socorro Police Dept.
Lt. Alvarez said an unmarked address can delay the police response time.
"It's seconds and seconds can make a difference."
For that reason, the city of Socorro is announcing the start of its "Operation Safe at Home, Safe at Work" initiative, that aims to identify and mark 10,000 homes that don't have numbers on them.
"It's not just numbering the house. There are some 911 requirements that we need to comply with in the size of the letters, the location of those signs," said Socorro's Special Projects Director, Anibal Olague.
Socorro city leaders are under deadline; a new state law requiring visible addresses goes into effect this spring.
"We're looking at different budgets depending on the scenario. There's one that I looked at...families had to pay $10 for the sign," said Olague.
City leaders said they understand the cost burden associated with the law; that's why they're working to make the process go smoothly for residents.
"Rather than fine people, let's find a way to help them so they can be in compliance. It's not about punishment, it's about enhancing public safety," said Socorro's interim City Manager, Alejandro Vidales.
The state law requiring visible addresses goes into effect March 31st.