Specific group being targeted by thieves in LR, police concerned

LITTLE ROCK (KATV) - Thieves in southwest Little Rock are targeting a specific group of people. Now Little Rock police are asking community members to protect themselves but that has become a challenge.

The Latino population in southwest Little Rock has been growing rapidly but along with that increase police say they're seeing a disturbing trend in robberies and Latinos are the primary victims.

Thursday night was the neighborhood quarterly meeting for southwest Little Rock, crime statistics was the main topic of discussion.

Many questions were asked but what didn't come up were specific numbers that concern Captain Terry Hastings. His latest data shows individual robberies in southwest Little Rock{}are on the rise and Hispanics are the victims of choice.

"They seem to be a target of some folks of individuals that do robberies," said Hastings. "Hispanics may not put their money in the bank, they may be here illegally."

Channel 7{}wasn't aware of any Hispanics who attended the meeting.

But at a nearby local store longtime employee Roberto Torres knows several victims.

"When they go to the apartment or when they're driving in the gas station or Walmart," said Torres.

Torres says it's so common around here there's a saying.

"They say the Latin people is the{}ATM for people who knew that they have cash on them," said Torres.

Hastings says they've at least gotten more people to report these crimes but he'd like to prevent them all together.

"Try and build a repore with them and get to understand that putting your money in the bank is a good thing to do," said Hastings.

Now many banks have started working with the Hispanic community to make it easier for them open a bank account.