ABILENE, Texas (BigCountryHomepage.com) – After Sears Park in North Abilene was set ablaze last Friday, the Hispanic Leadership Council (HLC) held a press conference Tuesday evening at the park, calling on community members to help decrease the string of crimes in the area.

Samuel Garcia, President of the HLC, ran the press conference, and cited a total of 12 incidents at or near Sears Park since September 2022.

“This is our park. This is what we give our heart and soul to… This park means a lot to us, and the reason this park means a lot to us is because it’s so important to the families in this neighborhood and around the area,” Garcia said in front of a damaged jungle gym with a ‘keep out’ sign attached.

Abilene’s Hispanic Leadership Council’s Samuel Garcia stands in front of damaged Sears Park playground with community members, APD and AFD (Jan. 17, 2023)

Garcia spoke to the importance Sears Park gives the area, citing how often children can be seen using the jungle gyms, basketball court, and families using its facilities for birthday parties and family reunions on the weekends.

“When somebody burns… The playground and causes thousands and thousands of dollars’ worth of damage, it’s not just property that they’re damaging,” Garcia illuminated. “They’re hurting the families of Abilene!”

Wrapping up the press conference, Garcia praised the City of Abilene Parks Department, and announced that the Abilene Police and Fire Departments had been helpful in monitoring for further incidents. The HLC even said cameras are in use at the park.

“The Hispanic Leadership Council stands up for our community,” Garcia exclaimed.

Garcia addressed the person(s) responsible for the crimes, “We want you to know that we’re looking for you.”

If you have any information regarding the Sears neighborhood crimes, the HLC said you can leave an anonymous tip with Abilene Crime Stoppers: (325) 676-8477

“It’s not just solving the problem. It’s also gonna be about prosecuting the people that are doing this.”