Home News Local News Incidents of crime hold steady amid virus concerns

Incidents of crime hold steady amid virus concerns

Daily Record File Photo Roswell Police Chief Phil Smith, seen here addressing the Roswell City Council in October, said the number of calls received by the department has been mostly unchanged as public health orders from the state have been implemented to combat the coronavirus.

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With most businesses temporarily shuttered, public gatherings becoming more scarce and people being forced to stay home due to social distancing measures meant to halt the spread of COVID-19, the Chaves County Sheriff’s Office has experienced a small rise in domestic calls and vehicle burglaries.

Overall, the rate of arrests remains unchanged since the New Mexico Department of Health put in place public health orders late last month — but Sheriff Mike Herrington said in roughly the last week and a half, deputies have had to respond to one or two more domestic calls a night than they did before.

“It’s not a lot, but it’s an increase,” Herrington said

Some have involved assaults and violence, but typically deputies find that the calls are the result of arguments between household members becoming irritated with each other as they are forced to spend more time at home together.

“It just seems like everyone is tired of each other’s company. They have been cooped up together for a while,” he said.

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With bars closed in accordance with public health orders, the increase in people consuming alcohol from home is also a contributing factor.

More vehicle burglaries have also been reported, Herrington said.

Burglars are taking advantage of the fact that people are making fewer outings from their homes and therefore checking their vehicles less frequently, according to Herrington.

“So, it’s not until they walk outside that they realize their car has been broken into or things like that,” he said.

Within the city limits though, Roswell Police Chief Phil Smith said the rate of calls has largely remained unchanged, including when it comes to domestic disputes.

“As far as the domestics, we haven’t seen an uptick or a downtick,” he said.

Smith said though that social distancing measures have led to a drop in some criminal activities. The lack of places to go and fewer vehicles on the roads for example, has meant fewer traffic violations.

Herrington and Smith said it is too soon to know just how social distancing practices and public health orders will impact crime overall.

However, each said as stress continues to mount and there are fewer places people can go, the potential does exist for more pressure on people and thus more problems.

To keep up with local coverage of the coronavirus, go to rdrnews.com/category/news/covid-19-situation/.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext, 301, or breakingnews@rdrnews.com


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