By Joel Hillan
DENVER, (CBS4) – Residents in Denver’s Athmar Park neighborhood are getting tired of what they call petty crime that doesn’t stop.
Their idea is to buy a billboard and put the faces of the criminals up there for everyone to see.
Phil DeJong and Alicia Rushing moved into this neighborhood from Longmont about three years ago to take care of DeJong’s aging mother. Since then, the crime has been non-stop.
“Just today, two cars and a bicycle were reported on NextDoor as stolen, and I’m frustrated. I’m fed up,” said Rushing.
In December, they decided to put up surveillance cameras around the house.
The hope is to catch thieves in the act, like two porch pirates who were caught on camera in Denver’s Hilltop neighborhood, and then place their pictures on a billboard.
“Somebody in the neighborhood is going to know who these people are. Somebody can help the police by telling them who they are,” said Rushing.
Although they call it a wall of shame, they see it more as a wall of accountability.
“You need to understand how you’re affecting all of your neighbors. You’re really not doing anything beneficial to anybody. You’re hurting everybody, and it’s time to stop,” said DeJong.
“I’d like to live in a nice, peaceful neighborhood where I could go to sleep at night and wake up and know that my house isn’t going to get broken into or my shed isn’t going to be broken into or my car. Even if my car is parked in the street, it would be nice to know that when I wake up in the morning the things that I left in my car are still going to be in my car,” said Rushing.
The couple is hoping to team up with an organization like CrimeStoppers to help get the word out. When they looked into it, the billboards can cost up to $2,000 a month.