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Central El Paso neighborhood worries sexual predator may be prowling near homes
By: Bill Melugin
EL PASO, Texas --
Residents in a central El Paso neighborhood near the intersection of Pershing and Altura told KFOX14 a recent string of incidents has them worried a sexual predator may be frequenting their area.
They say over the last two weeks, there have been break-ins, peeping toms, prowlers and attempted kidnappings, and they are beginning to feel unsafe.
The neighborhood is just down from Manhattan Heights, an area that was terrorized by a rapist and burglar earlier this year. Because many of the homeowners are seniors with young grandchildren, everyone has been on edge.
Salvador Contreras lives in the area with his mother, niece and nephew. He worries they won't be safe when he leaves for Albuquerque for a new job soon.
"Attempted kidnappings, prowlers, peeping toms, things like that, we've had a lot of activity within the last couple of weeks," Contreras said.
Contreras told KFOX14 the biggest issue has been a man who looks through windows and tries to open doors late at night, an issue his neighbors have been experiencing as well.
"Two weeks ago, our neighbor, her little boy was showering, and he saw somebody looking in the window," said a woman who asked to remain anonymous.
"We've had a couple girls that walk from school that have been followed around by a truck or by a car, darn near kidnapped them, and we've had break-ins here and there," Contreras said.
Residents told KFOX14 they are afraid to even let their children play in back yards, and that their lives are becoming full of anxiety, especially at night.
"Three nights ago, I woke my husband up and said 'I think there's someone in our back yard, I hear someone walking around,'" a woman told KFOX14.
Contreras said he checked a seuxal predator database and learaned there are six of them living within a few miles of his home.
Add that to the recent activity, and the entire neighborhood is on edge.
"They're starting to fear to the point where they are arming themselves with bats and anything by their doors or beds to defend their family," Contreras said.
"No guns, but we do have other forms of protection," a woman chuckled.
The neighborhod has a direct message for whoever has been prowling around.
"If we find him around here, he will be lucky to walk away from the situation, they're going to have to call the ambulance because he's going to get hurt," said Jerry Mata.
KFOX14 spoke with El Paso police about the specific neighborhood. They told KFOX14 they haven't received any official reports of crime in the area lately, and stress that if anything is happening, 911 calls have to be made, and police reports must be filed.
EPPD also told KFOX14 crime has decreased 9 percent in the Central Dispatch area this year.