Today, we’re going to talk about that part of Santa Fe that helps make our city unique. I’m sure you know what I mean, right?
No, not The Plaza. Canyon Road? Good guess, but that’s not it, either.
I’m thinking of a stretch of Cerrillos Road that is our own little version of The Bermuda Triangle. If you park your car there with something in it, you can expect to find it empty when you return.
An all-too-typical daily police report tells us an iPod and a snub-nosed revolver were taken from a car parked at a motel in the 3300 block of Cerrillos. A few nights later, two handguns and some binoculars are stolen from a truck parked at the very same motel. And so on.
The vehicle break-ins never seem to stop along this busy street of bargain motels and fast food, out there a little past Jackalope. The parking lots offer an all-night shopping mall for criminals.
The sheer volume of these crimes made me curious, so recently I drove out there myself around midnight.
What a sight! Crooks as thick as thieves in the parking lots, lurching like zombies from car to car, shattering windows with well-worn ball-peen hammers. Small clusters of miscreants stood under street lamps, checking out their loot – cash, jewelry, laptops, rump roasts…
Where do the thieves park their OWN cars while they’re doing their work, I wondered. I believe a special shuttle bus, The Reprobate Express, brings them out from downtown to commit their crimes, and then takes them back. Is this a great city, or what?
I pulled into the very parking lot that was the site of the gun thefts I mentioned earlier, and the first thing I saw – I am NOT making this part up – was a sign saying the motel is not responsible for theft or damage.
Really? Maybe there’s your problem right there. If you WERE responsible, there might be a lot less theft and damage!
But as I’ve said in other columns, I’m not here to curse into the darkness. I want to help find solutions.
Now you’re thinking, “Bob, it would be too fricking expensive to put enough police out there to prevent those crimes!”
I’m way ahead of you.
Sure, thwarting crime by actually arresting criminals and putting them in prison is a lot of trouble. But what about just alerting the potential victims? If they’re staying at those motels they’re probably from out-of-town, and they don’t have a clue what they’re in for. Education is the key.
Here are my suggestions:
• Every front desk clerk in those motels should wear a festive t-shirt saying, “IS THAT YOUR CAR WINDOW I HEAR BREAKING?”
• The motels should offer free bonfires, cider and doughnuts, to encourage guests to spend the night in the parking lot and guard their own vehicles. Hey, maybe even a strolling minstrel?
• Let’s have one of those tourist buses with loudspeakers going up and down Cerrillos, all night long, blasting out messages like, “PEOPLE, IT’S 3 AM! WHY ARE YOU ASLEEP?
And here’s where I need your help, to come up with a clever visual logo to pull the whole education campaign together, under my stunning, original, trademarked slogan:
“CERRILLOS ROAD! THE GLASS ISN’T HALF-FULL OR HALF-EMPTY, IT’S JUST ALL OVER THE PARKING LOT!
Robert Basler worked for Reuters in the US and Asia as an editor, reporter, manager and blogger. He now lives in Santa Fe with his wife, and way too many rescued dogs and cats. Blue Corn appears twice a month. Email the author: firstname.lastname@example.org