Officials remind parents to not leave children alone in public

Posted at: 05/16/2013 10:28 PM
By: Jill Galus, KOB Eyewitness News 4

It is where kids go to have fun, run around and just be kids.

But Steve Sink, manager of the Albuquerque Police Department's Crime Prevention Unit, says, do not let an environment like a playground fool you into thinking it is safe.

"Having young children out there, unsupervised, is a huge mistake in today's world," Sink said.

At Haynes Park Thursday afternoon, for every group of kids playing, you only had to look no more than a few feet to see parents keeping a close eye, which is exactly what Sink says you should be doing.

"The activities that are outside, always more than one adult," Debbie Johnson, who was with her three grandchildren, said.

"It's just, we can't trust anybody, and it's really sad." Troy Parrott, who was enjoying the afternoon with his family, emphasized how fast things can happen. "It only takes a split second, even for parents that are standing out there... you turn around to move the water hose and they're gone."

Henry Varela with New Mexico Children Youth and Families Department says, leaving a child alone outside can be a form of neglect, although there is no law that makes it a crime.

"Really the responsibility falls on us as adults," Varela said.

Predators are looking for children, anywhere, who are by themselves.

"If there's an adult around, these predators are definitely going to head elsewhere," Varela said.

Even in your own neighborhood Sink said parents have to be aware.

"That doesn't imply anything -- I think that the risks are still there," Sink said.

Most people would never leave their dog alone outside, both Varela and Sink said, the same rules apply to children.

"Teach our children, that we never walk up to a vehicle, we never abide by someone's request that we don't know, and if someone is trying to lure them close to a vehicle, I think the best thing to do is start yelling."

Bottom line, never take your eyes off those you love most.