ALBANY, GA (WALB) – Albany Police are noticing a spike in crime against Hispanics specifically in east Albany in the Dunes Mobile Home Park.
Wednesday night two gunmen stole a man's cash and cell phone. Early Monday morning a family was robbed in a frightening home invasion.
We knocked on Carlos Gonzales' door this afternoon and at first we didn't get an answer. He was too frightened to open the door to anyone. As we were about to pull away, he finally came outside to talk to me. He said Monday morning was one of the scariest moments of his life because four family members including his 6-year-old and 1-year-old were inside when a robber held a gun to his head.
"He says he's scared when he goes to work," said Carlos Gonzales' in Spanish. He doesn't speak English but says he's scared to sleep, scared to go to work, scared to live. Because he says early Monday morning a man with a gun knocked on his door.
He peeked through the glass window but didn't see anyone, but the robber was standing beside the stairs.
He says when he opened the door the black guy was pointing the gun at him when he opened the door. The robber then forced his way inside.
"They just told him to sit down on the sofa," said Gonzales' friend Mario Pablo who speaks English and translated.
Gonzales says his baby and 6-year-old girl burst into tears as the gunman took money and cell phones then left on a bicycle.
"He was scared when you were knocking on the door because it could be the same, now every time someone knocks on the door he's scared," said Pablo.
Albany Police say Hispanics are being targeted. Mario Pablo also lives at Dunes Mobile Home Park and he agrees.
"They think we have a lot of money and the black guy said he was going to come back," said Pablo.
In addition to Gonzales' frightening experience, another Hispanic family was robbed Wednesday night at gunpoint. But Pablo says he knows of two other recent home invasions that were never even reported.
"They don't talk English, they're scared to pick up the phone, they don't know what to say." Now Pablo is scared for his own family's safety.
"I feel like I'm going to be next," said Pablo.
He says it's a helpless feeling, but the simply doesn't know what to do to prevent the same thing from happening to him.
Wednesday evening, Albany Police planned to go door to door in predominately Hispanic areas handing out fliers like this one with Crime Prevention tips written in Spanish. They told me it's important to develop a personal relationship with the men and women who don't speak English very well so that they will feel comfortable calling them during an emergency.
The Albany Police Department has three officers who speak Spanish fluently.