Call 4 Action " Loiterers souring business in downtown Harlingen

It TMs a Call 4 Action on the Action 4 News Facebook page from a viewer who said she needed more police protection around her boutique in downtown Harlingen.

"We really like this area, said Shelley Rodriguez, owner of Sugar Sugar Boutique.

She parked her business in the middle of downtown Jackson Street in Harlingen a few months ago and it had been smooth sailing, until, "we had some shoplifters and it was a really scary experience," said Rodriguez.

The thieves apparently just walked in and left with merchandise.

Rodriguez has also witnessed what seemed to be homeless men just wandering around her store and has become fearful that something worse could happen.

"There's been a few incidents where we've had men come in and it's a little intimidating being a woman here working by yourself," said Rodriguez.

Male shop owners in the area have stepped up to come to Rodriguez's aide if an emergency should arise and have even developed a phone list so help is just a speed dial away, but Rodriguez feels like someone else should be taking on that responsibility.

"It would be nice if we had more police presence around here."

In the short time Action 4 News was downtown; there were plenty of shoppers and people getting lunch, but no sign of Harlingen Police.

Rodriguez says that would make a huge difference in deterring loiterers and would make her feel much more comfortable in a place where her business is thriving.

Other shop owners on Jackson Street say they feel completely safe in their shops and that there is no cause for concern, but with a residential building joining the block, the question still remains, will police beef up patrols in this area?

Harlingen Police did say they are willing to meet with any shop owner who has concerns so that they can figure out a plan as a team to make everyone happy and keep bad guys away.

As for increased patrols, there was no definite answer. Rodriguez says with so much money going into the growth of the downtown district, some of it should go into the securing the area.

"We need to see our officers patrolling on foot at least everyday," said Rodriguez.

Harlingen police tell us aside from the theft at Rodriguez's store, they haven't had a rash of robberies in the area and don't see an immediate need to send more officers to Jackson Street.

Again, they did tell Action 4 News that they are willing to meet with Rodriguez to figure out how to address her needs.