Bernalillo Police activity, September 2007
—SUBMITTED BY FRED RADOSEVICH,
CHIEF, BERNALILLO POLICE DEPARTMENT
The following are statistics from the Bernalillo Police Department
for the month of September 2007:
103 OFFENSE INCIDENT REPORTS
• 5 domestic violence (assault)
• 17 burglaries
• 12 thefts
• 5 vandalism
• 8 DWI
• 3 domestic violence
• 14 drug offenses
• 7 DWI
• 18 warrants
669 TRAFFIC CITATIONS
• 243 speeding
• 12 stop sign
• 44 suspended/revoked
• 52 no insurance
• 34 seatbelt violations
• 36 crash reports (accidents)
• 19 on Highway 550
• 4 on Highway 313
Drought and insects heighten fire danger in Sandias
The epidemic currently killing large stands of trees in the Sandia
Mountains is much worse than the piñon die-off a few years
ago, Sandia District Ranger Cid Morgan said last week.
Morgan warned, “It may not happen next year—maybe five,
ten, fifteen years from now, but people should not be surprised
by a catastrophic fire—it’s coming.” He estimated
that at least forty thousand acres have been affected. Many stands
of two- to three-hundred acres at higher elevations are totally
dead. Most of the damage is on the east and west sides of the Sandias
north of I-40, but there are also affected areas in the Manzanitas
in David Canyon and on Cedro Peak.
The insects involved are natural to the forest. “When you
see a woodpecker pecking a tree, these are what they are going for,”
Morgan said. The problem is that the bugs have been proliferating
because of drought and lack of fire.
The Forest Service believes that three hundred years ago, ponderosa
pine stands went three-quarters of the way up the east side of the
Sandias. This kind of environment has frequent fires, keeping the
forest healthy. As Europeans started settling the area, they grazed
sheep, cattle, and goats, thereby changing the composition of trees
and plants. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, fire suppression
became the norm in the Sandias. Thus, there are a lot more trees
now than there would be in a natural system.
During drought, all these trees compete for a lot less water. “If
you see two trees whose crowns are touching, their roots are competing
for the same water,” Morgan said. Normally, when a beetle
starts digging into a tree to lay eggs, the tree covers the bug
with sap and pushes it back out in a process called “pitching
out.” If the trees do not get enough water, they will not
make enough sap and the bug population spirals out of control.
The Forest Service has been cutting down dead trees to protect
hikers. To try to improve the health of the forest, it is also putting
together proposals for thinning and burning outside the wilderness.
They can only use fire management techniques, and current conditions
do not allow any fire.
“You can’t take a situation that took three hundred
years to create and fix it overnight,” Morgan said. “It’s
just that we’ve come in and changed things, put things out
of kilter, and now the pendulum is swinging really wildly.”
Morgan stressed that private landowners need to create “defensible
space” around houses by clearing brush, cutting lower branches,
and thinning trees to make sure crowns aren’t touching. This
will not only help reduce forest fire risk and protect the houses
from fire, but it will also mean less competition between trees
for water and nutrients, resulting in a healthier forest that can
The current epidemic involves a variety of bugs that are species-specific.
They include fir engraver beetles, Douglas-fir tussock moths, Western
balsam bark beetles, Western pine beetles, spruce bug worms and
Ips beetles. As a result, most of the trees in the forest are susceptible,
unlike the piñon epidemic a few years ago. Morgan said that
we won’t see the full impact of the epidemic until next year,
but that the moisture over the past year has helped.
This article was reprinted with permission from The Independent,
a newspaper serving the East Mountain area of Albuquerque.
September scams and frauds reported to Attorney
General King’s office
The following is an overview of what has been reported to the Attorney
General’s office since the beginning of the month.
“INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE” SCAM:
Last month, the IRS issued its own consumer alert regarding a new
two-step email scam that falsely promises recipients they will receive
$80 for participating in an online customer satisfaction survey.
In the scam, unsuspecting taxpayers receive an unsolicited email
that appears to come from the IRS. A URL link to an online “Member
Satisfaction Survey” is contained in the email. This month,
the scam continues with recipients falsely promised amounts ranging
from $80 to $116.40.
LAND SALE SCAM:
As mentioned in the July and September Consumer Advisory reports,
land scams are continuing to be reported to the New Mexico Attorney
General’s office. As a reminder, if you receive a phone call
or letter from a company either offering to purchase your land or
to advertise your land to potential buyers, be alert. Oftentimes,
a scammer will ask you to pay upfront for service you may never
IMPERSONATING ATTORNEY GENERAL OFFICE STAFF MEMBER SCAM:
A New Mexico resident reports receiving a call from an individual
claiming to be an employee of the New Mexico Attorney General’s
office. The person was told he had won the lottery and was then
asked to send $750 to an address in Jamaica.
FINANCIAL INSTITUTION SCAMS:
Del Norte Credit Union (DNCU) and some of its members continue
to be the targets of a “phishing scam.” Northern New
Mexico residents have reported receiving phone calls or emails asking
them to respond to a toll-free number and provide personal account
information, including debit and credit card numbers.
Several Bank of America customers have received email notifications
that their accounts have temporarily been suspended. The customer
is told in the email to click on a link that is provided and fill
out a secure online form.
If Bank of America and DNCU customers should not give out any personal
COUNTERFEIT CHECK SCAMS:
New Mexico banks were alerted to several different counterfeit
checks schemes that were reported to the office by consumers. The
checks had the names of real businesses on them, though the checks
did not originate from those businesses. Most checks were accompanied
by letters stating the recipient had won a lottery or drawing and
the check was included to cover fees needed to claim the winnings.
The letter urged that the check be deposited and a large portion
of the check wired back to cover costs. This is a scam. Legitimate
lotteries do not require a winner to pay to receive winnings.
NIGERIAN AND LOTTERY SCAMS:
New Mexico residents continue to report scams involving banks and
individuals that are out of the country. The scammer is asking for
financial assistance for a family member who has died. The scam
offers to send large sums of money to the recipient in exchange
for their help.
This is a typical scam received via email. If you receive a plea
for assistance involving financial transactions of any kind, please
do not respond.
Consumers are also receiving “official notifications”
of lottery winnings accompanied by a check. These letters ask recipients
to “kindly” deposit the check, allowing twenty-four
to forty-eight hours for the check to clear, following with a phone
number to contact “your claims broker.” These checks
are fraudulent – if you deposit the check, it will bounce;
if you wire any money overnight, you will lose the money.
If you receive such emails, the New Mexico Attorney General’s
office encourages you not to respond. Consumers may report scams
and frauds they experience by forwarding suspicious emails to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A fall fire season is upon us
—KAREN P. TAKAI, SANDIA RANGER DISTRICT
In the beginning of October, we have had two fires—one in
the Bosque and another on the Mountainair Ranger District. This
is a “heads-up” for our communities to please be very
careful as we enjoy this beautiful fall weather. Winds and daytime
temperatures are drying out grass (lighter fuels) creating a fuse
that, if lit, will lead right up to the trees.
Normally when we have a fall fire season, it is not as intense
or long as our spring fire season. Still, we need take precautions
by following defensible space concepts to lower our risk from fire:
• Do not become complacent.
• Do not burn when it is windy.
• Cut and remove grasses around your home.
• Remove pine needles from gutters.
• Extinguish campfires dead out.
• Extinguish cigarettes.
• Drench fireplace ash with water and let stand for weeks.
• Remove wood from around your home.
• Be careful welding—consider having a fire extinguisher
• Do not park your car on tall weeds.
For additional information, go to firewise.org
or call 281-3304, ext. 104.