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'HIV Risk': Neighbor places sign at park warning parents after finding used needles, syringes

Neighbors say they found used needles at park
Posted: 9:26 PM, Jun 29, 2018
Updated: 2018-06-30 03:20:41Z
Used syringes found at local park
Used syringes found at local park
Used syringes found at local park

TAMPA, Fla. — A Seminole Heights neighbor says she is concerned about children playing at a local park after several neighbors found used needles this week. 

Susan Elbare advocates for safety in her Seminole Heights neighborhood.

She placed a sign by the entrance of Patterson Park on East Patterson Street in Tampa. The sign reads, "Hep-C or HIV Risk." It goes on to tell parents to check the area before letting kids play. 

"I’m very concerned. Even one needle... if something happened and a child hit it and they were infected by it," said Susan Elbare. 

She said she's lived in the neighborhood for four decades, but recently neighbors have complained about finding needles.

"Neighbors had noticed there that there were now needles in the park and that truly concerned me," said Elbare.

Tampa Police said officers have never been called to the park regarding someone finding used syringes.

In the past six months, officers responded to Patterson Park 12 times. Only one call was related to drug use.  

Tampa Police said officers patrol that park. 

"Officers do patrol it, but they can’t be there 24-7. We have limited police and unlimited people running around all over the city. They have things to do other than to just monitor our parks," said neighbor Susan Long.

Neighbors said they would like to see more street lights in the park. They said darkness attracts illegal activity. 

The Tampa Parks and Recreation Director said the city will reevaluate the need for lights in the park. 

They'll be reaching out to neighbors to listen to their concerns.

Tampa Police said neighbors should not hesitate to call about illegal drug activity. They can remain anonymous.