Are predators watching inside your home from the open desert?
Reporter: Valerie Cavazos
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Pima County deputies are investigating 50 tips about that east side sexual assault involving three little girls.
Just a day after the attack, a former neighbor returned to the home he left two years ago. He said when he lived there, there was a peeping tom who looked similar to the man in the sketch. "I saw a peeping tom two years ago in the back yard up against the window staring at my wife while she was lying in bed. I called the police while he was still there, and was able to speak to them while he was still there at the window." He said his former home backed up to open desert. And when he saw the man two years ago, he was able to disappear into the darkness.
Investigators tell 9OYS that it would be easy for an intruder to disappear into the desert -- especially when the neighborhood is in an open area. Deputies are not giving any details as to how the man even got into the house -- but we did some digging and found out it's easy for any predator to watch what's going on inside and outside some of these homes.
The desert area behind the neighborhood homes was one of the first areas deputies searched on Monday. Deputy Richard Kastigar told KGUN9 on Monday, "There are individuals who camp in various places in and around here. We're checking everything."
So we checked as well. The first thing we noticed as we began our search is an open gateway -- an easy access for any predator. The natural pathways were easy to navigate - and it was eye-opening to discover how easy it was to see behind homes that have scenic fences.
With large desert vegetation, such as Palo Verde trees, it's easy for a predator to hide all day long watching the action in the backyard of a home.
We checked around for any signs of camping, but there wasn't any -- just as deputies had concluded in their investigation -- by air and by ground. "There was no indication that there were any camps of any nature or anything like that involved," said Deputy Tom Peine.
KGUN 9's Valerie Cavazos asked Peine what advice he has for homeowners who have visible backyards. He replied, "It's very important that residents make sure doors and windows are locked and garage doors shut and they don't rely on perimeter walls and fences. They should always be vigilant. Keep an eye out and if they see anything suspicious -- to please give us a call. Call 9-1-1. Let us know and we'll talk to anyone who might be these camps."
The backyard and inside some of the homes are in clear view during the day, but at night - the view inside can be as visible as watching a big screen television with all the lights turned off. So closing curtains and shades when it's dark outside is also a good safety measure.