Letter To The Editor: Is Safety A Priority For Los Alamos County?

Los Alamos

Recently, news was reported that a man had been hiding out in Los Alamos Mesa Public Library and was arrested for criminal trespassing. This man had reportedly been looking for a place to sleep for the night due to the cold weather. However, this person was also resourceful enough to have a key to disarm the alarm system and had already spent an undeterminable number of nights hiding in the library after hours.  

Now, if you have been to Mesa Public Library then you are aware the majority of its employees are women. One security guard patrols the facility throughout the daytime, but the closing employees are charged with securing a massive facility after-hours and ensuring that no one remains along with other closing responsibilities. Now, I also know the demeanor in Los Alamos that this is safe town, that you can leave your houses and car doors unlocked, that you can let your kids roam around freely without a care in the world, that it and Mayberry are one in the same barring the National Laboratory sitting across the bridge. 

What I also know is that crime statistics within the last 10 years in Los Alamos document numerous burglaries, robberies, extensive drug use, rapes, assaults, thefts, vandalism, and yes, even homicide. That’s right, statistics are released every year (in fact, they just were), and can be found with any Google search. What I do not know is anything about the man that was arrested for trespassing in the library. I do not know his history, arrest record, disposition, tendencies, or intentions, nor do I need to know. It could be anyone that chooses to play hide-and-go seek on Los Alamos County property.

What I do know is how this situation was resolved. Mr. Orr was arrested for criminal trespassing and is he forbid from coming on the property? Nope. Are the same county employees still charged with walking the grounds after-hours with probably no training in how to handle a potentially hostile situation involving someone that refuses to leave or becomes physically hostile? Yup. Has anything been done to mitigate the risks involved with this responsibility of clearing a massive building with its huge square footage and numerous places to hide? Nope. 

This letter is not meant to be derogatory toward Los Alamos County in any way. It is meant to draw attention to the fact that while Los Alamos County continues to fund redundant renovations and environmental landscaping projects, it does not care to invest in safety and security measures to one of its most extensive properties. This is merely coming from a concerned citizen who wants to see people protected and feel safe in their environment. 

The unknown is and remains unknown. The truth remains constant that anything can happen, even in Los Alamos, and preventative measures are probably more expensive and deemed unnecessary due to the miniscule possibility of something happening, even though something has happened. So when that day comes where danger meets fear and hostility prevails, what will be the costs then? I, for one, do not ever want to find out.


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