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Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office partners with Precinct 1 for crime prevention initiative

The Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office and Hidalgo County Precinct 1 have partnered up in an effort to improve crime prevention education throughout the mid valley.

The Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office and Hidalgo County Precinct 1 have partnered up in an effort to improve crime prevention education throughout the mid-Valley.

"Sometimes we really aren't safe, even at home,” said Indian Hills resident Sarai Montelongo.

Montelongo is a longtime resident of Indian Hills in Mercedes, and she, along with other residents in the area, does not feel safe in her own neighborhood.

"We need to feel a sense of security in our neighborhood," said Montelongo. "Our streets are too dark and there's too much crime like burglaries going on. We definitely need this.”

Due to residents concerns like Montelongo's, and in an effort to prevent crime from happening near Rio Grande Valley colonias, Hidalgo County Precinct 1 and the Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office created the initiative.

Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office Senior Deputy Juan Pedraza said part of the initiative is conducting crime prevention surveys at residents' homes.

"We go out there, we talk to them about re-enforcing their main entry points, their windows, doors, but also through the crime prevention and environmental design where we talk to them about the brush, the trees--stuff that they just have in their lawn that is great concealment for a criminal," Pedraza said. "We educate them why it's better to remove that stuff.”

While education is provided by the sheriff's office to residents, brush cleanup is provided by Precinct 1. Residents say aside from brush, lighting at night is also a problem.

"Years ago, there was much more crime going on in our streets," said Montelongo. "It's still dark at night and even though the amount of crime might have gotten better, it's not by much. I'm glad the county will help us learn how to protect our property.”

Precinct 1 Commissioner David Fuentes was not available for an interview Wednesday, but mentioned Precinct 1 began planning the initiative in January.

The Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office and Hidalgo County Precinct 1 have focused on colonias like Hargill Falls and Indian Hills, so far.

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