The employees of Alianza of New Mexico on West Second Street became the victims of criminal damage Wednesday, sometime between 10 a.m. and noon, when the drivers’ side rear tires of three separate vehicles were slashed.
The subject left a calling card in the form of a note on each vehicle. The Roswell Police Department asked that the text not be reproduced, but Alianza Executive Director Sashua Patton said the notes were derogatory and threatening.
The total replacement costs for the slashed tires were $378.31. Patton complimented the police officer who took the staff members’ report, saying he stayed until he could examine each damaged tire after it had been changed.
Considering the text, the crime could be viewed as a hate crime by New Mexico statutes, since it targeted a certain group. The New Mexico Hate Crimes Act of 2003 was modified from the previous act of 1978. The act allows a judge to increase the basic sentencing for an individual who “commits a crime because of bias or prejudice.”
Under prior law, the sentencing for an offender was the same regardless of whether or not the crime committed was based upon biases such as that of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender, age, gender identity, physical or mental disability or serious medical condition.
Alianza of New Mexico serves the needs of people who are living with or are affected by HIV. This includes not only the sufferers, but their family and friends. Alianza tracks medical case management and medical care. The group also provides education, referrals and prevention services.