Despite arrests Tifton Hispanic community remains fearful - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Despite arrests Tifton Hispanic community remains fearful

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October 8, 2005

Tifton- Despite the fourth arrest in a string of deadly home invasions, members of the Hispanic community remain frightened and scared inside their own homes.

The Castillo family bought a dog this week, an added security measure. They live in the Town and County Mobile Home Park, close to where one of six home invasion murders occurred.

"It was like a ghost town, nobody was out, nobody was here, I don't know it's been different since all of that, that happened," said Maribel Castillo of Tifton.

Since the home invasions, the atmosphere in their neighborhood has changed from happiness to fear.

"We used to see a lot of people having parties especial on Friday and Saturday, cook outs and everything and kids playing with the ball and all that has changed," said Maria Castillo of Tifton.

Working to ease those fears, even after a fourth arrest will be no easy task.

"They are frightened and we need to work very hard to renew the trust, the trust in the community," said Father Alfonso Gutierrez, Our Divine Saviour Catholic Priest.

"I don't think it made any difference, still a lot of Hispanic people are still, I guess they're still scared," said Maria.

"We need light among this dark situation. We pray to God that he send to us his holy spirit and his light to help us to find the best ways to work with our Hispanic community," said Father Gutierrez.

With those prayers, it's now neighbor watching out for neighbor and an unsettled feeling remains among those affected.

"Everybody is watching out for everybody, especially us we do have a large family here in Tifton," said Maria.

Members of the Hispanic community talk about starting a community watch program and say other safety measure still need to be taken to protect their homes.

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