MANTECA — Shawnie Durr is a mother of three who often brings her kids to play at Roberts Estates Park in Manteca.
“That park is right behind our house so it’s very convenient for us. It’s our go-to park,” Durr explained Monday.
But now Durr is questioning if they’ll ever go back after her 8-year-old son picked up a hypodermic syringe off the ground near the slides Sunday morning.
“I don’t really feel safe there going anymore, neither do my children. They were afraid of being there,” Durr told FOX40.
She said her heart was racing as she yelled for him to drop it.
“The first thing I think of is AIDS, hepatitis C, anything that he can contract from a dirty needle,” she said.
After disposing of the syringe herself, she said she talked to her kids about the dangers of what they found.
“They’re 2, 7 and 8 I didn’t want to have to expose them to that at this young age but now they have to be aware,” Durr said.
Now, Durr is warning other parents to be aware and calling on the city to keep the parks clean of dangerous objects.
“Someone needs to come through the parks during the day, check them out, just make them safe for our children,” she said.
Manteca’s Mayor Ben Cantu told FOX40 that is just not possible.
“We’re understaffed and if they’re expecting an immediate response, that’s not going to happen,” Mayor Cantu said. “That’s why it would be easier for them at that particular moment if they see it, pick it up and dispose of it. But again, be careful when handling that type of material.”
He said the city and police are already doing all they can and said it’s also up to parents to make sure it’s safe for their kids to play.
“I wish it wasn’t that way. I wish there weren’t any drugs but the fact is that our world has changed and no matter how hard we try those are items that we are going to have to deal with,” Cantu said.
Durr said she’ll be checking the playgrounds from now on but still believes the city could do more.
“The drug issues are increasing and something has to happen because now our children are not safe anywhere in Manteca,” Durr told FOX40.
The city says if you come across any needles or syringes and you don’t feel safe disposing of it yourself, you can call police or the Parks and Recreation Department and they will respond when they can.