AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Shelley Jenkins said earlier this week, a man approached her young daughter in their front yard. Both parents were nearby, but at the time, they didn’t know the man was a sex offender.
Jenkins said she was watching from inside when it happened. Her daughter was swinging in their hammock, and the man never came onto their property while talking to her. The whole ordeal, she said, lasted for about a minute.
“I said, ‘I need you to tell the officers.’ Well, apparently, then the man had asked her to go with him to his house which was two doors down,” said Jenkins. “And two, he would give her a coke and candy. And that was at the point where she shook her head. And she said, ‘No, I can’t.’ As parents, we have to be more, more vigilant. And we have to just protect our kids.”
Amarillo Police Department Sgt. Carla Burr said Jenkins did the right thing. She posted to social media to let her neighbors know, but first, the family made sure to tell police.
“Unfortunately, there are a lot of registered sex offenders in Amarillo,” Sgt. Burr said. “And so this could happen in any neighborhood in our town. So it’s really, the thing we want to focus on is that parents, teachers, other adults, everybody that we’re all looking out for kids in our community and making sure that if we see something, we say something.”
According to Sgt. Burr, anyone can track whether there are registered sex offenders in their neighborhood. Just go to the Texas Department of Public Safety’s site to search the database.
If you see what appears to be inappropriate behavior, Sgt. Burr said calling attention to it can make someone stop, and ultimately, leave. But calling the police, she said, is the best option, because sometimes a person’s intention is not to harm kids.