Carrollton Police Cite Deporation Fears as Possible Reason for Decline in Neighborhood Crimes Calls

CARROLLTON —A lack of crime may not always be a sign that all is well. Just ask Carrollton police. When there were no car or home burglaries or car thefts reported in the department's District 11 for the entire month of February, the silence raised both eyebrows and concerns inside police headquarters. March was a virtual crime wave by comparison with one car burglary and one car reported stolen in the district. During the same months last year, residents in the predominantly Hispanic neighborhood reported four car burglaries, two stolen vehicles and two home burglaries in February 2016. And in March 2016, there was one car burglary, one auto theft and five home burglaries."That is unusual," police spokeswoman, Jolene DeVito, said of the recent dip in District 11 burglary and car theft reports. "We are just speculating, but we hope it's not because of immigration enforcement concerns based on false information." The district is located in far south Carrollton and is bordered by Belt Line Road to the north and Spring Valley Road to the south, part of Josey Lane on the east and part of I-35 on the west. DeVito said fears of deportation in the past few months may be a factor in why some residents of the neighborhood might be hesitant to report crimes. A controversial programThe Police Department agreed last year to be part of the federal secure communities program — also known as 287(g) — which gives local officers the power to handle immigration cases. The program has caused some controversy in Carrollton. The topic has come up at the last three council meetings. During the March 21 meeting, residents spoke to the council and Mayor Matthew Marchant for more than two hours both in opposition and support of the city's involvement with the initiative. The 287(g) program in Carrollton allows a trained jail detention officer to screen an arrested person's immigration status and notify U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents if that person is not authorized to live in the United States.But police say they want to assure residents that they aren't out on the streets actively hunting for people to deport. "We don't enforce immigration law," DeVito said. "We don't round people up."   Continue reading...

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