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What do you do if you think that someone is following you? Don't be alone. Immediately run to a friend's house or nearest store and tell them. What if a stranger ever threatens you or tries to grab you? Shout "HELP" and "I don't know you" and "call 911". And get away fast. Make a big scene so people will come. Carry and use a personal attack alarm. Most abductors and molesters will run away if their victim fights and attracts attention with noise.
What if you're home alone and someone calls for your mother or father? A child should never tell anyone they're home alone. Just tell them "My parents can't come to phone right now. I'll take a message." And never open door to any stranger.
What if you get separated while you are shopping or in another public place? Whenever you go shopping, set up a meeting place. If you get separated, don't search for each other. Immediately go to meeting place. Or ask a police officer, guard, or employee for assistance.
Encourage children to walk and play together, to watch out for each other. Young children should not be out alone, especially in evening.
Explain that if they're ever lost or abducted that you will look for them until you find them. No matter what. This is critical. Most abducted children are told by abductors that their parents don't want them anymore. If they believe it, they have no place else to go.
Know basics: Another thing that we did at safety town was to make sure children memorized following: Their first and last name Their age Their street address Their full telephone number with area code Their parent's first and last name(s) This information is very important and not very hard for even a young child to remember as long as someone helps them. It would be a good idea to make it a daily practice of having your child repeat above listed information to you on a daily basis, that way they should get it memorized pretty quick. As a police officer I had come across lost children who were unable to give me their basic information, which made getting home a lot harder.
There are more dangers then just strangers: Another thing that was addressed in safety town was letting children understand what dangerous things they might find and what to do. Items such as guns, knives, syringe needles etc…, which they may unfortunately find in parks or even school playgrounds.
To give an example I was once dispatched to a residence where someone had overdosed on heroin. The other people that were with him got scared they would get into trouble and pulled syringe out of his arm and threw it outside into a snow bank. We had to pull teeth to get information out of addicts friends regarding what they did with syringe. Finally we were able to locate it in snow bank. This snow bank was located in a elementary school yard that was adjacent to apartment complex where heroin user was found. The area where snow bank was, was right next to a path that kids took to go to school. I also want to emphasize that heroin user was also tested positive for hepatitis C. I want to further note that I worked for a small suburban city that was for most part a safe community. Do not fall under false sense of security that just because you do not live in inner city that you or your children will be safe from criminal activity.
The above example shows importance of children to be able to recognize these things and contact an adult about them if found, but not to touch items themselves. A good way to get children to identify with what these objects look like, is to find photographs of them and explain to child what they are and what to do if found.
We have included on this website two free downloadable pamplets courtesy of National Center for Missing and Exploited Children they are as follows: Personal safety for children - A guide for parents Knowing my 8 rules for safety - A guide for children To obtain these documents click on link listed below you will find this identical article except at end you will be able to download files. http://www.crimawareness101.com/keepingyourchildrensafe.html
Scott Shaper is a former police officer with over 14 years law enforcement experience. He is also the author of the popular book Crime Awareness 101 and operates the website www.crimeawareness101.com