Problems in City Parks? Online Ads Show Adult Encounters in Lubbock Parks

Published 05/20 2014 03:00PM

Updated 05/20 2014 11:24PM

By Monica Yantosh

LUBBOCK, TX -- A call came into the KLBK newsroom over spring break where a parent said they believed they saw some kind of adult, sexual behavior going on in a car near Prairie Dog Town.

That call lead to KLBK starting to look into just how often things like that are happening in Lubbock parks. A search for 'park' online on Craigslist, in the personal classified ads, showed numerous ads, where people were asking to meet someone in the park for a casual, adult encounter.

Many of these ads were explicit, saying they want to meet in a public place, often in parks.  The most common parks we saw listed in these ads were Mackenzie Park, Maxey Park, and Clapp Park.

Monday, KLBK checked with a few people in the park that evening to see what they had to say after hearing that's what some people were looking to use the parks for in Lubbock.

"I'm from a bigger city, so that's not a big surprise, because there are parks in Dallas, where it's like, 'Oh, that's that park,'" Liz Welch said.

"That's true, yeah, I understand that too, because I see a lot of people like get into different cars and drive around," Kevin Anzley said.

"I'm from a very small town and I guess it's kind of shocking to hear about that, too, but I guess it's not overly surprising," Cody Hall said.

KLBK responded to some ads on Craigslist, just asking how this worked to see what other information we could gather. Within hours, we got multiple responses back with instructions on what they were looking for, and some of those instructions were sexually explicit.

It's something Lubbock Police said they are aware about, and the parks are included in patrol areas for their officers.

"It's something that we always deal with, but it kind of comes and goes," Sergeant Jason Lewis with Lubbock Police said. "I think that a lot of times, people aren't aware of how prevalent it is," he said. " and so once people realize how much this does go on, nationwide, it is a little bit startling."

"I think just be vigilant, and just have people know, be educated about the fact that if it doesn't look right, it probably isn't," Sergeant Lewis said.

Even though police may patrol the parks, some said they don't know if this could be stopped.

"With it being advertised on social media, I don't know, you know, maybe send a police patrol out here every once in a while," Josh Satchell said.

"There's lots of secluded areas I think to the park, so, just in general, not just to the thing you mentioned, but even crime, in general, I think it's good for police to check up on it once every once in a while," Hall said.

Sergeant Lewis said if you do ever see anything like that happen in a park, or even any crime, it's good to call police, even if the act or event is over and the people have left. Police can still put together a police report on it, and that could help lead to arrests at another time.

If caught during a sexual encounter in the park, Sergeant Lewis said people could face charges like public lewdness, a class A misdemeanor, or indecent exposure, which is a class B misdemeanor.  With either of these two, there could be a fine, and/or time in jail.

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