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Friday, November 15, 2013 - 12:44am
LAS CRUCES, N.M. — A young girl was frightened by two suspicious men as she walked home from a Las Cruces elementary school Tuesday afternoon.
Las Cruces Police said it appeared as though one of the two men in a small, black four door car took the young girl's picture with a cell phone around University Hills Elementary School on Locust.
"It's kind of scary," said Jennifer Lenway, a parent of two children at the enrolled at the school. "People are a little bit crazy these days."
The department said the girl did the right thing in walking away and informing an adult, who then informed the school.
"Kids need to have a very open line of communication with their parents and with their teachers," said LCPD Spokesperson Dan Trujillo.
Trujillo said the best course of action is to inform police immediately and prevent any delays in the investigation.
Trujillo also suggested parents walk their kids to and from school on a daily basis to insure the child's.
Parents like Lenway said she normally drops her kids off every morning and watches them walk in the door and at the end of the school day she returns and sees them all the way to her car.
"I'd much rather prefer coming to pick them up," she said.
Lenway said she also has code words with her kids in case she needs to send a family member to pick them up from school and also as a precaution if a strangers attempts to entice them.
"I've gone into all kinds of scenarios that could possibly happen," she said.
She has acted out scenarios where somebody might ask her children for help finding a missing dog or even offering them candy.
Schools also rely on crossing guards to keep an extra eye out for anything that is out of place.
"If I don't see them it's like where is Joe, or where is so and so cause we're talking little kids," said Irine Roane, crossing guard at University HIlls.
Roane said she did not see anything strange Tuesday afternoon but she is unable to look over at surrounding streets and her attention is also divided to stopping traffic so children cross the street safely.
Roane stressed the importance of making sure kids walk home in groups if they don't have parent supervision.
"My mother always said safety in numbers," Roane said.
Las Cruces Public Schools said a letter will be sent out to parents encouraging them to speak with their kids about suspicious activity.
Police are still looking for information on both suspects and ask the public to call CrimeStoppers with anything that might help.
Las Cruces Crime Stoppers: 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or send a tip via text message to CRIMES (274637), keyword LCTIPS.
The Crime Stoppers number and text messaging services are operational 24 hours a day and you do not have to give your name to collect a reward.