Rio Rancho Police Department

Rio Rancho Police have had fewer problems to handle since social distancing began, but ask people to stay alert and report anything suspicious.

To try to limit the spread of COVID-19, restrictions on gatherings and businesses began in New Mexico on March 12, and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham issued a stay-at-home instruction and ordered all non-essential businesses to close March 23.

“Calls for service, in and of themselves, have decreased,” said RRPD Lt. Ray Alderete.

However, he said police have seen a slight increase in domestic and neighbor disputes, and noise complaints, such as dirt bikes or loud parties. He didn’t have statistics showing whether the parties violated the ban on gatherings of five or more people, only that they were loud.

Vehicle burglaries and thefts were a particular issue for awhile, but police made an arrest in those cases, Alderete said.

He said residents should be observant of what’s going on in their neighborhoods and call the police if they notice anything suspicious, as they already do. He asked that if tension arises among individuals, they let officers “assist with solving the conflicts or potential conflicts.”

If people want to donate such protective items as hand sanitizer or gloves, RRPD will accept them.

“Personal protective equipment is always something we’d like to provide our officers,” Alderete said.

The community can also help police by having a mindset that prevents problems officers need to handle.

“Just exercise patience and good will for each other,” Alderete said, adding that he was confident the community would come through the COVID-19 outbreak stronger. “We just need our community to partner with us on something like that.”

He also asked people to follow the state and federal guidelines of frequent hand-washing, avoiding gatherings of more than four people, practicing social distancing and so forth.

“That way it just kind of helps us flatten that curve as a community,” he said.