Secure your purses, and don't travel alone is the advice from Cincinnati Police to Hispanic women in East Price Hill who are increasingly victims of crime.
Immigrant Affairs Liaison Officer Richard Longworth isn't willing to put all the blame on heroin users looking for cash but it does play a role. Hispanics report being robbed in the middle of the day on the street and outside their homes.
Berzabe Lopez is getting tired of being targeted. "It started in 2012. That was the first time I was a victim. It wasn't the last time. It's happened seven times."
Now she takes the bus and if she does walk, she's more vigilant.
Officer Longworth says Hispanic women are soft targets. They carry cash and in many cases don't report crime because they are undocumented and afraid. Anna Cabrera was robbed three times by the same teens at her home. Once was after she had gone to church. "When I returned they had broken the window and they had stolen a lot of things from my home. They took a lot of things from my in-laws and also from myself."
They also took her rent money.
Bilingual Support Worker for Every Child Succeeds Rita Killinger says, "Because we've seen these victimizers become younger and younger I think there really also needs to be a push in the schools towards some sort of education amongst the students because maybe they're not getting it at home or maybe they're being sent an opposite message."
Officer Longworth says the criminals range in age from 15 to 25. He is trying to make more interpreters available and is encouraging first responders to get information out about suspects with visual resources to combat language barriers.
Glenda Lopez was robbed two times and is not alone. "Yes, this has happened to other people that I know for the reason that a lot of us are here without legal status a lot of them have stayed quiet."
Longworth hopes to get more accurate numbers if he can convince Hispanic women to come forward.