4/19/2014

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Sex offenders living near parks in Yakima

Sex offenders living near parks in Yakima
YAKIMA, Wash. -- Knowing your kids are safe and sound can put a little ease on parents. But in a quick moment, everything can change.

Maria Lopez said kids are very active and quick to disappear so she has to keep a close watch. Losing her five year old daughter, Savannah for a quick moment at the store was a moment too long.

“A quick five seconds felt like about 10 minutes of not knowing where she was at,” said parent, Maria.

And that’s why a closer watch on your kids is never enough. Sex offenders who live near parks is more common than most parents would like to believe.

KIMA dug through the numbers to see how many level two and three sex offenders lived within a one mile radius of parks in Yakima. The numbers were alarming. Elk’s Memorial, Lion’s, and Milroy each have over 30 sex offenders nearby. At the same time, Miller Park has 22 while Kiwanis Park has 19.

“I feel very unsecured, very scared just to be at home and let the kids even play in the front yard or even cross the street because they could just cross the street and play in the park,” said parent, Cristy Gil.

Cristy lives near Elk’s Memorial Park. While her husband’s at work, she has three little kids to take care of. And with strangers roaming around, she said it’s important to teach her kids to stay close.

“I had a lady come to my daughter and offer her a dollar and I just told her you know, don’t. You don’t need to do that,” said Cristy.

Now with more awareness of sex offenders living near the parks, no amount of supervision is enough.

“It put kind of a fear, a second doubt if this is a park we should be coming to,” said Maria.

Now with the spring time coming up, parents said they want to keep a closer watch on their kids while they’re playing outside.
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