SERVPRO Offers Free Vandalism Cleanup for Victims of Hate Crimes in Aurora
Three more hate attacks targeting African-American families in Aurora have upset residents and compelled police on Monday to step up patrols and appeal to the public for help.
The authorities have been investigating after other recent attacks. Police Chief Nick Metz, Mayor Steve Hogan and other city leaders have declared hate crimes will not be tolerated in Aurora, which bills itself as the safest large city in Colorado.
Over the weekend, vandals left threatening notes and spray-painted racial slurs — “KKK” and the like — on three apartment doors near the 6700 block of South Rivera Court.
“People are scared,” one resident said, asking that her name not be printed for fear her family could be targeted.
“Since the election, people feel like they are now privileged to go after minorities and get away with it. And I am scared retaliation will happen if we speak out and no protection will be provided for victims by our apartment complex.”
The attackers may be posing as missionaries and carpet cleaner salespeople, moving door to door, to learn racial information about residents who then are targeted, the resident said. In addition to spray-painted scrawls on seven doors, the attacks this past weekend included threatening messages on notes, she said. Some victims apparently did not report crimes to police.
Aurora police have stepped up patrols, agency spokeswoman Diana Cooley said.
Police on Monday posted a bulletin on their departmental Facebook page saying “these bias-motivated crimes will continue to be a high priority for the Aurora Police Department.”
The recent crimes “all have that pattern — the spray painting and note,” Cooley said. “This is going to alarm some folks. It is something we take seriously. If you are a resident and see something suspicious, please contact the police department.”
Aurora residents have reported at least nine bias-related crimes since the Nov. 8 election and Metz has said he believes other incidents may be happening that haven’t been reported.
Nationwide, police have reported surges of hate crimes since the election. The Southern Poverty Law Center documented 867 hate crime incidents during the 10 days after the election, including 21 in Colorado. The Colorado crimes targeted immigrants, African-Americans, women and children.
The Littleton franchise of the clean-up company SERVPRO is offering its services to erase the physical damange of vandalism for free to victims of hate crimes in Aurora, SERVPRO administrator Kimber Tornes said. “We unfortunately can’t erase the damage to their hearts and minds.”