SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Santa Fe police department is looking to make downtown feel safer for tourists and business owners. One of the reasons, a robber was recently caught with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of stolen merchandise from downtown stores.
“What’s going to be amazing is there is going to be more traffic by police officers in the area so they can come into the office meet with people on calls, ask them to meet at the substation, or even getting supplies that they need in the field,” said Santa Fe Police Department Deputy Chief Ben Valdez.
Essentially the new presence would include an office for members of the department to patrol and respond to the downtown area more quickly. Valdez says while the department won’t have a fully functioning substation, it will still give officers the chance to better assist downtown and give businesses a sense of security.
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“We are always looking for ways to partner with our businesses. We’ve done operations to help out with issues that they have been seeing but this is a great initiative that’s moving forward that we are hoping to see improve safety for people throughout the community,” said Valdez.
Businesses in the area say any type of police presence would be extremely beneficial after experiencing a string of break-ins and burglaries. “Its devastating you feel very violated walking in and seeing the breakage of the door and the mess they left behind its very violating,” said Manitou Gallery, Manager, Sandy Swatek.
Swatek says Manitou galleries has experienced two break-ins this year alone with damage totaling $250,000. Just this Saturday, Santa Fe Police arrested 25 year old Edgar Guzman after he was caught trying to break into a consignment shop in the downtown area.
After his arrest, Guzman admitted to the two burglaries at the Manitou Galleries. He’s facing eight felony counts, including receiving stolen property worth more than $20,000. Now Swatek says she feels a lot more confidence with the increased police presence to come.
“They said they were doing some things to make it safer down here and make it more appealing for people so I think that what really needs to happen is to bring people down here and make it safe for the tourists and the businesses,” said Swatek.
The Santa Fe police department is requesting a total of $100,000. If approved the downtown police office could be implementing the changes beginning July 1.