Police are investigating a possible HIV-related hate crime in Roswell, New Mexico, after employees of an HIV support group, Alianza, reportedly found threatening notes on their cars and had the tires slashed.
The Roswell Daily Record reported that assailants slashed three separate vehicles on the drivers' side rear tires, leaving a note on each vehicle that was "derogatory" and "threatening in nature," according to Alianza's executive director Sashua Patton.
Since the written text was targeted towards a certain group (those who are HIV-positive), police officials say that the crimes can be viewed as a hate crime per New Mexico's statutes.
Roswell isn't a stranger to crime. With a population of 46,314 people, Roswell has had 3,224 acts of crime last year, which translates to an overall 7% crime rate and 6.23% property damage rate, according to FindTheData. New York City, on the other hand, has an average crime rate of 2.24% with over 8.4 million residents.
Despite the threats, Patton says that Alianza will keep serving the needs of HIV-positive people in the state by providing education and prevention through programs, services, and medical care. It's a mission that's going to take a lot more than a slashined tires to diminish.