Greater Trail RCMP are reminding all parents to talk with their children about what to do if a stranger approaches them
This advisory follows a report called into the police station on Monday, that on two occasions over the previous week, a suspicious-looking male was hanging around a wooded area near the elementary school in Warfield.
The man is described as wearing all black.
“The male did not make any attempt to communicate with anyone at the school, but his presence was unnerving to those who saw him,” Cpl Devon Reid, from the Trail and Greater District RCMP, reported Feb. 4.
“At this time, the male has not been identified and no offence has been committed,” he said.
“Police would like to remind parents to speak with their children about what steps to take if approached by a stranger.”
Following are “street proofing” safety trips from the BC RCMP:
Incidents of child abduction are rare; however, it is important to reinforce basic safety principles with your children in order to educate and prepare them should they be approached.
Here are some safety tips to discuss with your children and for older children to keep in mind when they are alone (i.e. not in the care of their parents or trusted adults/guardians).
1 – Know your home address and home phone number and how to contact your parents on their cell phones or at work.
2 – Know how and when to call 9-1-1 in an emergency situation: at home, from a cell, and from a public telephone.
3 – Travel and play in groups, regardless of your age. The popular ‘buddy system’ works best.
4 – If you become separated or lost, tell someone with a nametag (e.g. a cashier or security guard) right away; if there is no one with a nametag, preferably tell a female.
5 – Be polite, but avoid long conversation with strangers. If someone you don’t know asks you a lot of personal questions, like where you live, Do not answer, just run away.
6 – Don’t be afraid to say no to adults who ask you to do something for them, like find a lost pet, join them in an activity, or give them directions.
7 – Never accept a ride or gifts from strangers, or even someone you may know, without checking with your parents first. Keep a safe distance (two arm lengths) from strangers and cars that approach you.
8 – Establish a secret word or phrase for your family. This should be used in emergencies to identify a ‘safe person’ other than their parent or child giver.
9 – If a person tries to grab you, scream loudly, make a lot of noise, and create a disturbance such as knock things over, scatter belongings, and kick wildly. Shout “Help, this person is not my parent.”
10 – Do not wear headphones or use portable electronic devices that can distract you from your surroundings when you are walking in the neighbourhood.
11 – If you are taking a public bus home, sit near the front of the bus, near the driver.
12 – Play ‘what if’ games with younger children to reinforce these safety messages.