Posted: Dec 19, 2011 6:38 PM
Updated: Dec 19, 2011 7:19 PM
CAMERON COUNTY - Some people in Cameron County fear eight-liners are attracting crime to their neighborhoods.
Law enforcement officers say they're doing what they can. Now much of the fight is in the public's hands.
The yellow tape that wraps La Feria's Fun Time arcade could be proof of the potential dangers. Cameron County deputies say a Houston man took $20,000 from inside. People who live near the arcade fear businesses like this are attracting a different kind of crowd.
"No, it doesn't surprise me because you have illegal activity. You are going to have a criminal element. Next thing you are gong to see prostitution in them," says Donald Bohanan, a La Feria resident. "I certainly wouldn't have that much money in my business one way or another. No way."
It's been a struggle for Cameron County Sheriff Omar Lucio to track illegal activity in arcades. He knows the kind of cash that switches hands here.
"It is a lot of money. That's another factor that creates a bigger problem because more people are apt to commit armed robberies," says Lucio.
Lucio worries security simply doesn't exist in arcades. That could change if more people speak up to state lawmakers.
"The things to do is to get 75 to 100 people and call this office because I know the senator and some of the state reps, and we will have a meeting and tell them exactly what you want," says Lucio.
Lucio knows about the high stakes of having eight-liners in Cameron County. He wants Austin to know, too. This is a new tactic asking the public to speak out about eight-liners. Law enforcement officers hope it works.