Reported By Regina Raccuglia
For the first time, Latina business owners across Nashville are coming forward to say they are being targeted. The Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce said it has seen a steady increase in burglaries among Latina-run businesses.
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Roxanne Moreno has been a Latina entrepreneur in Antioch for the past 15 years, but there's one day at work she'll never forget.
"I was so scared because I was thinking, 'The people are going to kill me here,'" said Moreno.
Three masked men abducted her from her home and drove her to her own business at gunpoint.
"I went in and the register was there, and that where I give them all the money," she said.
Moreno said she's sharing her story now because she's learned she isn't alone.
"It has become a big problem," said Loraine Segovia, chair of Latinas in Action.
Segovia and officials at the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce said Latina-run businesses are being targeted now more than ever.
"My personal opinion is that we are being perceived as a weak community in which we cannot go and explain or get in touch with the police department," said Segovia.
To address this growing problem, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Nashville is sending out surveys to every Latina business owner, and they're working with Metro police to form town hall meetings to tackle this issue.
"This community is growing fast, and that is going to make us a bigger target -- and if we don't protect ourselves, who's going to do it?" asked Segovia.
Moreno said other Latina entrepreneur victims are scared to come forward because they were threatened.
"A lot of business owners, they've been through this because they let us know, 'If you call police, you're going to get killed,'" said Moreno. "That's what they say to me the day they go to my house."
But now, Moreno said, she hopes breaking her silence and partnering with the police will help the Latina community feel empowered.
For more about these crimes and how the Hispanic community is fighting back, go to www.nashvillehispanicchamber.com