Going to the park to take pictures of nature was enjoyable until right before I decided to leave. Staring through an opening in the trees, I could see the playground and a single female child.
Did I see her mother?
What was her mother doing?
That is truly irrelevant because nothing could have been more important than watching her child.
What is the mother supposed to do, stare at the child the whole time?
Actually, yes, because within a few seconds the child could be abducted and never seen again.
Now you might be thinking, “Oh, you’re being dramatic!” but let me assure you that what I’m telling you is dramatic, terrifying and very real. I have noticed that there seems to be a sense of “That won’t happen to my family” and “It is very safe,” by many parents, but both of those thoughts are totally irrresponsible.
This attitude really, really bothers me.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice:
The Statistical Breakdown
- 800,000 children (younger than 18) were reported missing in a one-year period of time which is an average of 2,185 children each day.
- 350,000 children were the victims of family abductions.
- 204,000 children were the victims of non-family abductions.
Non-Family Child Abductions
- More than 65% of the children abducted by non-family members are girls.
- 46% of children are sexually abused.
- 31% of the children are physically abused.
- 32% of abductions take place in a street or a car while 25% take place in a park or a wooded area LIKE A PLAYGROUND
- The top 3 places an abductor imprisons a child are: a car, the abductor’s home, the abductor’s building.
- Most abductions are carried out within a quarter of a mile of the child’s home.
- 75% of the abductors are male.
- 67% of the abductors are below 29 years of age.
That didn’t scare you?
Watch this clip of an attempted abduction in broad daylight where the woman has to fight off the predator….
It simply is not safe to let children play at the park, shop, sit in the car or play outside in the yard unsupervised. I know that it is convenient to say, “Go outside and play,” but think of the chances you are taking by letting your children outside alone.
Child Safety Tips From The Police
- Check out babysitters, suspicious people in the neighborhood and anyone you hire to work in your home. Many states list convicted sexual predators on special Web sites. You can obtain information at the FBI’s Web site or by calling your local FBI office. Get references of people you want to hire and be sure to check them out.
- After workers leave your home, check ALL windows and doors to make sure they are locked.
- Never leave garage door openers or spare house keys “hidden” in spots where they might easily be found.
- Tell your children that, “Strangers mean danger”. If someone stops next to them in a car, tell them to run away toward the rear of the car since backing up fast is difficult.
- If youngsters are on a bike, hold it between them and the abductors car. If they are pulled into a car, they should jump into the backseat as soon as possible and try to escape through the window.
- Develop code words for anyone you trust to pick up your children and teach your little ones the code. Tell them not to ride or go with anyone who doesn’t know the code.
- Know the places your children play, learn about their friends and friends’ families – especially before they go to people’s homes to play.
- Show children safe places in your neighborhood to run to if they feel threatened – the home of a trusted friend, the local police station or firehouse.
- Tell children to trust their instincts. “If they think something’s wrong with someone they meet, they should run away.”
- Warn children not to fall for common lures such as: needing help finding a lost puppy. Some molesters tell youngsters they are cute and want to take their picture, or that they have a toy or candy for them. When children hear these approaches from a stranger, they should run fast to a safe place.
- If kids get lost while shopping they should go to the nearest security guard or cashier. DO NOT ASK A SHOPPER THEY DON’T KNOW AND DO NOT GO INTO THE PARKING LOT TO SEARCH FOR YOU.
- Children can make a potential abductor panic and flee by screaming at the top of their lungs, “He’s kidnapping me!!!!!,” or “Fire” will quickly bring attention to the attempted abduction.
- Tell children to walk on sidewalks, as far away from the curb as possible against the flow of traffic so they can see who’s approaching. That will make it more difficult for them to be surprised by a driver and quickly snatched.
- Never let your little children use a public restroom by themselves.
- Warn older children never to hitchhike.
- Review the security policy of your child’s school and day-care centers. Don’t be shy about speaking up if you see a flaw.
- Avoid putting your children’s names on their garments and possessions. When children hear their names called, they let their guard down, thinking it’s someone they know.
- For identification purposes, take a lock of your child’s hair for DNA.
- Prepare your children well – these (abductors and predators) are anywhere – and it can happen anywhere!
I hope you recognize the danger in this world today.
It is really scary, so don’t read this and think, “It won’t happen to me and my child.” Someone else thought that and now their child is missing.
For more information:
National Center For Missing And Exploited Children
Polly Klaas Foundation