Concerns rise after third razor blade incident in Huntsville

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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (KTRK) -- New video cameras are keeping watch at Emancipation Park in Huntsville.

Police are hoping it's a deterrent or it helps identify possible suspects who melted a razor blade into a slide.

A resident found the blade July 6. Then on July 10, after reports of the blade in the slide surfaced, a customer at a local Target was injured by a blade stuck into a shopping cart handle.

"We are currently investigating it and our detectives are looking into it as we speak," said Huntsville Police Lieutenant Jim Barnes. "It is unusual. In my time here we've not seen this before and hopefully we won't see it again."

RELATED: Razor blades found in Huntsville playground

There is also damage to a slide at nearby Boettcher Mill Park. But despite initial reports to the contrary, no razor blade was discovered there. Still, the city of Huntsville alerted residents and asked them to remain vigilant.

"We hope that all of our citizens will take a moment to visually inspect slides and other playground equipment when they're in our parks, and of course, we hope something like this does not occur again," said City Secretary Lee Woodward.

The cameras come too late though for Kandace Babbs and her son, Traevon Johnson. He was a park regular until now. He won't be playing there any more.

"I just think it's really sad that somebody would do something like that," Babbs said. "It's supposed to be a fun time for kids."

"It's summer time and kids should be able to go to the park and play," Johnson said.

The crime begs two questions: first, what kind of person would do that? And second, how do you tell your children about it without frightening them?

For the answers, we went to Melissa Templeton. She teaches criminology and deviant behavior at Sam Houston State University. She said the person could lack empathy for others or they could be someone who lacks maturity and is impulsive.

"There's a high level of excitement that goes along with sensational impulsivity, where they're just so excited about doing it that they're not thinking about the consequences for other people or for themselves long term," Templeton said.

She is also a licensed family counselor who suggests parents reconcile their own feelings first and then make a plan to help their children feel safe.

"The child is going to take the cue from the parent," she said. "The parent needs to teach them skills in how to be more cautious. Let me show you how we can look at everything to make sure it's safe. We can swing the swing to make sure it doesn't fall. We can check out the slide. The slide looks okay. We can look around on the ground for hazards."

Huntsville police do not have a suspect in either of the razor blade cases and they don't have any real evidence from the park. They're hopeful vigilant residents and those new cameras will help.

Whoever is responsible could face a felony charge of endangering a child.

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