Race a factor in Del. crime spree

May 19, 2009 3:04:35 PM PDT
In one suburban Newark, Delaware neighborhood, crime is on the rise. Police are seeing more incidents of illegal activities ranging from vandalism to home invasions.

While authorities want everyone to be more aware, some are feeling more threatened than others.

That's because criminals in the neighborhood of Sparrow Run appear to be targeting Hispanics.

Benjamin Sanchez and his roommate were awakened by the sound of someone kicking their door Tuesday morning. Sanchez says two hooded men tried to break in.

That follows an earlier incident when hateful graffiti was written on their walls.

Police say what happened there is only the beginning.

"Within the last few weeks we've had a carjacking, a home invasion, one attempted home invasion, and a number of street robberies all involving hispanic male victims," said Cpl. Trinidad Navarro of the New Castle County Police.

He says hispanics are often targeted because criminals know many fear police, some may be in the country illegally, while others carry cash rather than put it in a bank.

Sanchez, a restaurant worker, sends his money to family in Mexico, but after living here for two years he's ready to move.

"I'm scared. I'm scared because it's not a good place," Sanchez said.

Neighbors say outsiders are causing the trouble in Sparrow Run, and hispanics aren't the only people being victimized.

"I just think it's people out of work. Probably drugs, too. People looking for money for drugs," said James Hamby.

"It's not one particular type, it's all. My son's car was vandalized and the people across the street. It's terrible," said Carol Exum.

That's where police agree, and that's why patrols are being stepped up, and neighbors are asked to be cautious.

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