Crimes in parks increase

YAKIMA, Wash. -- Parks are meant for play and relaxation. But we've all seen or heard of crime in the parks. KIMA looks into the issue to see if it's a problem Yakima.

"All of a sudden I got clocked in the back of the head. Kicked around like a soccer ball", said Fred.

Fred frequently visits Kiwanis Park. He's heard stories of crime in the park but never thought he would be a victim.

"They caught me by surprise", Fred told KIMA.

KIMA pulled the numbers for crimes in several Yakima Parks and found that it's increased over the last three years. Yakima police tell me regularly patrol the parks but they haven't amped up security.

Sarah Fitzgerald an mother of two visits the parks on a weekly basis and told KIMA Kiwanis Park, "is one of the worst areas in Yakima."

Yakima police confirmed they are called to Kiwanis Park more than the others. And the numbers don't lie. They've gone up across the board in just the past two years.

Sarah Fitzgerald says her family has seen something else in the parks that unsettles her.

"I see frequently people who are obviously homeless have naps and stuff under the trees and that concerns me more for their safety really", said Sarah Fitzgerald.

Sarah tells me a friend of hers was attacked in Randel Park this year. Fortunately she was able to get out of what could have been a tricky situation.

Sarah told KIMA, "we just try to be vigilant and pay attention." She teaches her kids what to do in the case of an emergency.

Sarah says she occasionally see police at the parks, which is a welcome sight. By staying alert and educated of the dangers, Sarah and her children are able to enjoy the great outdoors.

Neighbors of Kiwanis Park told KIMA they have seen illegal and foul activity in the park but did not want to reveal their identities on camera.