BY TOM CLANCEY
OF NORTHERN VALLEY PRESS
ENGLEWOOD – Hard-working Hispanic laborers specifically targeted for robberies often don’t report crimes to police for fear of immigration entanglements, a high-ranking Englewood police investigator told Northern Valley Press last week.
“We’ve had suspects we’ve arrested in the past tell us that they know that undocumented individuals usually work in primarily cash-paying type jobs that are sometimes easily identifiable by the type of clothing they wear.”
Englewood police are spreading the message to residents both through bilingual literature and in-person outreach: the department is not concerned with the immigration status of victims of crimes, Torell said.
The revelation comes as the United States grapples with policies on undocumented residents amid a push by President Donald Trump to publicly name and shame municipal police departments not cooperating with ICE efforts and threatening to withhold federal funding from so-called sanctuary cities, such as New York and San Francisco.
Since January 2016, 13 Hispanic victims have been targeted in a series of street robberies in Englewood. The latest incident occurred on March 21 just after 11 p.m. when a 29-year-old man who lives on Park Avenue was robbed by two 6-foot-tall black men, Torell said.
“During the struggle, the victim was stabbed in the leg” and had to be transported to Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, where he was treated for his non-life-threatening injuries and released, Torell said.
“Victims have been beaten or threatened with guns and knives,” said Torell. “In one area in particular, near the intersection of Wilbur Street and Park Avenue, several robberies have occurred, leading us to believe that at least one of these assailants lives close by.
“In one case, we had officers flooding the area literally in seconds and they located no suspects at all,” said Torell.
Police are offering a $500 reward for information that significantly assists the police investigation, paid for by CrimeStoppers, an initiative that works to foster trust between law enforcement and communities while offering cash rewards for tips helping investigators.
Police have been working to reinforce trust between the local law enforcement and the city’s Hispanic community, Torell said.
“This past Friday and Saturday evening, Spanish-speaking city detectives and uniformed officers fanned out along West Palisade Avenue and the Park Avenue/Wilbur Street areas and handed out flyers in both English and Spanish,” said Torell on March 30.
Police interacted with many community members, including residents, shop owners, patrons of local shops and eateries, he said.
“The reception was overwhelmingly positive. Some shop owners hung the flyers in their storefront windows or in their restrooms,” said Torell.
“We wanted the Hispanic community especially, to know that we care and are concerned for their safety when walking alone in some areas,” Torell said.