Important - Pay Attention!!
  • Children will follow strangers.  Therefore, NEVER leave your child
    unattended!
  • Strangers may not be the only source of danger to your child.  
    Therefore, stay alert for all signs of inappropriate behavior by
    others, even others you know!
Because of the continuously evolving nature of crime as well as new techniques or technology in
crime prevention, be sure to check this page periodically for new or updated tips.
Included on this page:
  1. EIGHT CHILD ABDUCTION PREVENTION TIPS
  2. SEVEN SAFETY RULES FOR YOUR CHILD TO FOLLOW
  3. CAUTION ON THE INTERNET

TEN CHILD ABDUCTION PREVENTION TIPS*
Source:  Citizens’ Crime Prevention Handbook, The Broward County [Florida] Sheriff’s Office

  1. Teach your child your address and phone number, including the area code.  Instruct your child on telephone use for calling
    home, the police department, and 911 in an emergency.
  2. Keep an up-to-date file on your child, which includes a photograph and physical description.  If your child is under two years
    of age you should update the information at least four time a year.  To arrange to fingerprint your child, call your local police
    department.
  3. Pay close attention to the clothing your child is wearing each day and never display your child's name on his/her clothes,
    book bags, or books.  Children will often respond to strangers who call them by name.
  4. Make sure your child knows what to do should you become separated in a public place.  Your child should immediately
    report to a facility employee and should not attempt to search for you.
  5. Select a secret code word that only you and your child know.  Tell your child never to go with anyone who does not know this
    code.
  6. Keep a set of your child's footprints, fingerprints, and dental records.
  7. Leave instructions with your child's school to notify you immediately if your child is absent and provide them with written
    information on persons authorized to pick your child up after school.
  8. Educate your children on many tactics used by abductors to lure them away.  Teach them to immediately leave the area if an
    adult stranger is present [who is making them uncomfortable—but go to an area where there are people your child knows].  If
    your child is grabbed, instruct your child to yell "Fire" as loud as he can.  People are more likely to respond to shouts of "fire"
    than "help."  Drill into your child that it is OK to drop books bags to run from a strangers who makes your child feel fearful.
  9. Survey the recreation and school routes used by your child.  Point out any dangerous areas such as vacant lots, alleyways,
    busy streets, etc.  Teach your child what to do if he/she is being followed.
  10. Join or organize a "safe home" program with your neighbors to establish secure homes where your child can go for help.

Keep in mind, child abductors usually target their victims ahead of time and seek children who travel alone or seem to be alienated
from their peers.  Often, they observe playgrounds and other public places to select a victim.

Should your child become lost, here are tips that could help find your child:
  1. Keep an up-to-date file on your child, which includes a photograph and physical description.  If you child is under two years of
    age you should update the information at least four time a year.  To arrange to fingerprint your child, call your local police
    department.
  2. Keep a set of your child's footprints, fingerprints, and dental records.




SEVEN SAFETY RULES FOR YOUR CHILD TO FOLLOW
Source:  Citizens’ Crime Prevention Handbook, The Broward County [Florida] Sheriff’s Office

Your child should repeat the follow:

I promise . . .

  1. Before I go anywhere, I will check with my parents or the person in charge first, to tell them where I'm going, how I'm getting
    there, who's going with me, and when I'm coming back.
  2. I will get permission from my parents before getting into a car or leaving with anyone, including people I know.  I will not
    change my plans or accept money or gifts without telling my parents.  If someone offers me drugs, I will tell a grown-up
    immediately.
  3. I will use the "buddy" system whenever possible and will avoid playing or going places by myself.
  4. I will not keep it a secret if a anyone touches me in a way that makes me feel confused, but will tell a grown-up I trust.  Also, I
    won't feel guilty if it happens because it's not my fault.
  5. I will trust my feelings and will share them with grown-ups I trust.  They care about me and I'm not alone.
  6. If I feel unsafe, I will never give up and will continue asking for help until I get it.
  7. I will keep myself safe because I'm a special person who deserves it.





CAUTION ON THE INTERNET
Below is a story sent to the editor of this website by a friend via email.  The email message states that this story is forwarded
from
"My Space."  Whether this story actually happened is almost irrelevant.  The point is that it demonstrates a scenario that
seems plausible.  Share it with your children.  Tell them that It is great to trust, but to be careful and diligent in whom they place
their trust.

Here is the story:

After tossing her books on the sofa, she decided to grab a snack and get online.  She logged on under her screen name
ByAngel213.  She checked her Buddy List and saw GoTo123 was on.  She sent him an instant message:

ByAngel213:
Hi.  I'm glad you are on! I thought someone was following me home today.  It was really weird!

GoTo123:
LOL You watch too much TV. Why would someone be following you?
Don't you live in a safe neighborhood?

ByAngel213:
Of course I do.  LOL I guess it was my imagination cuz I didn't see anybody when I looked out.

GoTo123:
Unless you gave your name out online.  You haven't done that have you?

ByAngel213:
Of course not.  I'm not stupid you know.

GoTo123:
Did you have a softball game after school today?

ByAngel213:
Yes and we won!

GoTo123:
That's great!  Who did you play?

ByAngel213:
We played the Hornets.  LOL.  Their uniforms are so gross!  They look like bees.  LOL

GoTo123:
What is your team called?

ByAngel213:
We are the Canton Cats.  We have tiger paws on our uniforms.  They are really cool.

GoTo1 23:
Did you pitch?

ByAngel213:
No.  I play second base.  I got to go. My homework has to be done before my parents get home.  I don't want them mad at me. Bye!

GoTo123:
Catch you later.  Bye

Meanwhile.......GoTo123 went to the member menu and began to search for her profile.  When it came up, he highlighted it and
printed it out.  He took out a pen and began to write down what he knew about Angel so far.

Her name: Shannon
Birthday: Jan. 3, 1985
Age: 13
State where she lived: North Carolina
Hobbies: softball, chorus, skating and going to the mall.  

Besides this information, he knew she lived in Canton because she had just told him.  He knew she stayed by herself until 6:30 p.m.
every afternoon until her parents came home from work.  He knew she played softball on Thursday afternoons on the school team,
and the team was named the Canton Cats.  Her favorite number 7 was printed on her jersey.  He knew she was in the eighth grade
at the Canton Junior High School .  She had told him all this in the conversations they had online.  He had enough information to find
her now.

Shannon didn't tell her parents about the incident on the way home from the ballpark that day.  She didn't want them to make a scene
and stop her from walking home from the softball games.  Parents were always overreacting and hers were the worst. It made her
wish she was not an only child. Maybe if she had brothers and sisters, her parents wouldn't be so overprotective.

By Thursday, Shannon had forgotten about the footsteps following her.

Her game was in full swing when suddenly she felt someone staring at her. It was then that the memory came back. She glanced up
from her second base position to see a man watching her closely.

He was leaning against the fence behind first base and he smiled when she looked at him. He didn't look scary and she quickly
dismissed the sudden fear she had felt.

After the game, he sat on a bleacher while she talked to the coach. She noticed his smile once again as she walked past him. He
nodded and she smiled back. He noticed her name on the back of her shirt. He knew he had found her.

Quietly, he walked a safe distance behind her. It was only a few blocks to Shannon 's home, and once he saw where she lived he
quickly returned to the park to get his car.

Now he had to wait. He decided to get a bite to eat until the time came to go to Shannon 's house. He drove to a fast food restaurant
and sat there until time to make his move.

Shannon was in her room later that evening when she heard voices in the living room.

"Shannon, come here," her father called. He sounded upset and she couldn't imagine why. She went into the room to see the man
from the ballpark sitting on the sofa.

"Sit down," her father began, "this man has just told us a most interesting story about you."

Shannon sat back. How could he tell her parents anything? She had never seen him before today!

"Do you know who I am, Shannon?" the man asked.

"No," Shannon answered.

"I am a police officer and your online friend, GoTo123."

Shannon was stunned. "That's impossible! GoTo is a kid my age! He's 14. And he lives in Michigan!"

The man smiled. "I know I told you all that, but it wasn't true.  You see, Shannon , there are people online who pretend to be kids; I
was one of them.  But while others do it to injure kids and hurt them, I belong to a group of parents who do it to protect kids from
predators.  I came here to find you to teach you how dangerous it is to talk to people online.  You told me enough about yourself to
make it easy for me to find you.  You named the school you went to, the name of your ball team and the position you played.  The
number and name on your jersey just made finding you a breeze."

Shannon was stunned. "You mean you don't live in Michigan?"

He laughed. "No, I live in Raleigh. It made you feel safe to think I was so far away, didn't it?"

She nodded.

"I had a friend whose daughter was like you. Only she wasn't as lucky. The guy found her and murdered her while she was home
alone.  Kids are taught not to tell anyone when they are alone, yet they do it all the time online.  The wrong people trick you into giving
out information a little here and there on-line. Before you know it, you have told them enough for them to find you without even
realizing you have done it.  I hope you've learned a lesson from this and won't do it again.  Tell others about this so they will be safe
too?"

"It's a promise!"

That night Shannon and her Dad and Mom all knelt down together and thanked God for protecting Shannon from what could have
been a tragic situation.

End of story.  Food for thought, don't you think!
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