Crime in Greeley rises


Rylee Martin, Managing Editor

Northern Colorado hearts are grieving after the tragic death of 22 year old Angelica Vega, after being brutally beat, and sexually assulted by suspect Marco Vallejos. On Friday, Aug. 26 2022. While closing up at a local nutrition shop NOCO Nutrition on 59th Avenue across from Cables, Vega was attacked by Vallejos with a hatchet after all customers had left the shop. Vallejos then continued to drag Vega’s body into her own car. When the cops later found Vallejos with Vega’s body in the car at 10:30 p.m., Vallejos admitted to the officer that he was the guy responsible; he was arrested on the spot. Vega’s family has released a statement that she was “always smiling” and “was very unique and had a heart of gold” (9News).

Greeley has been in shambles after this tragic event, and citizens have been questioning if leaving anyone to close a shift is safe anymore. Along with the reported murder of Vega, Colorado has had a total of 384 human trafficking cases in the past four years. Females have been the common target for murders and traffickers, as a total of 292 women have been trafficked within the past four years. Women all over the country have taken precautionary measures to ensure safety as more predators are being found on the streets, and more tactics are being used to abduct women. Items like tasers, pepper spray, pocket sirens, and many more self defense weapons are being carried to defend against possible predators. (Colorado: Efforts to Combat Human Trafficking). 

Taking precautionary steps to keep safe is a must, but looking for suspicious behavior can get someone out of a scary situation faster than being able to notify the police. Avalon Betters (23) said, “I am definetly more paranoid after the murder in Greeley, especially going places alone at night. I always carry pepper spray with me no matter where I am.”

Here are a few things to avoid when alone in a public situation. 1: Traffickers identify people that look vulnerable and scared, stay confident and stand your ground this makes you look harder to target. 2: If permissible, go out and about with someone. Predators look for people who are alone to target, so if you can,bring someone along. 3: Go out and about during the day as much as possible. Although this won’t stop predators from targeting people, it is less likely for a predator to target someone in the daytime. 4: Look for suspicious behavior but especially look for odd items that are attached to your car. A common tactic for traffickers is distracting people by tying, pouring, or spilling substances on people’s cars. For example, a zip tie is attached to the door handle of your car when you come back from a store. The goal of this is to distract the target and grab them while they aren’t paying attention. If you are ever in a situation where this has happened to you, either A: get in your car immediately if it is locked and drive away and call the police, or B: Run back into the store and tell a store official immediately and have them walk you back out to your car and drive away immediately to a police station just in case someone is following you. 5: Carry a self defense weapon like pepper spray, a taser, etc.

Unfortunately these steps won’t prevent predators from attacking, but they are preventative measures to keep in mind. Remember to always stay alert and always trust bodily instincts because if something doesn’t feel right, there most likely is something going on. It is always better to be safe rather than sorry.