Crime Rate Up in Portales

More assaults...more thefts...and more arrests. The crime rate in Portales is on an upward trend. In 2006 officers handled 150 assaults, compared to 100 in 2005. Motor vehicle thefts went up about 40 percent. Robberies remained the same. Police also put more people behind bars for these crimes. Now they are working to bring the crime rate down for 2007.

NewsChannel 10's Marissa Bagg is live in the newsroom to explain what they are doing to accomplish that goal. What surprised police about the crime rate was the increase in assaults. So they've put measures in place to curb the crime.

"There are places around town where the lighting needed to be corrected. We're always looking to see where we have problem areas," says Captain Lonnie Berry.

Some of these problem areas turned out to be public parks. So a new curfew is being enforced.

"It used to be parks were open 24 hours a day, but we put a time limit. So by a 11pm we get everyone out of the park," Capt. Berry.

Today, law enforcement turned to the community to get their input on what else needs to be addressed. Concerned parents reiterated the meth problem and the need for rehabilitation for young people. Because although meth labs are down, the drug is still prevalent in the community. And police say a reason for much of the crime.

"We've seen a downward trend of meth labs but there is the availability of meth that is made elsewhere and brought in and it's typically of stronger power," Capt. Berry.

Captain Berry hopes the strategies will help put everyone on the same page about fighting crime.