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BPD releases child abduction prevention tips after recent incidents

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Posted at 3:43 PM, Sep 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-18 18:43:09-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Bakersfield Police have released child abduction prevention tips in light of recent incidents that has happened in the city.

On a Facebook post, officials shared information and advice from a Safe Escape presentation in hopes of properly educating parents and children about child abduction prevention.

Below are the tips BPD posted:

  • Make sure children understand “strangers” are any people they do not know, and there is no way of perfect formula for differentiating between a good or bad person by simply looking at them (AKA “stranger danger”)
  • Make sure children understand “strangers” are any people they do not know, and there is no way of perfect formula for differentiating between a good or bad person by simply looking at them (AKA “stranger danger”)
  • Children are better able to recognize ACTIONS versus a “dangerous person”. For example, a "dangerous person" does not have a set appearance, but may display actions such as asking children instead of other adults for help. Children should understand that any adult they do not know should not be asking them for help, and instead should be asking another adult. Adults asking children for help is a dangerous action. Teach children it is not their responsibility to help people they don’t know.
  • When at home, children should never tell a caller or visitor they are home alone and should not open the door to anyone; however, we do encourage anyone who is home alone to let the person at the door know someone is home and to go away or they will call the police. Many burglars have stated to law enforcement that they will knock on doors, and if it appears no one is inside, they will proceed to break-into the residence. This can result in a child, or even you, now being inside with a burglar.
  • When at home, children should never tell a caller or visitor they are home alone and should not open the door to anyone; however, we do encourage anyone who is home alone to let the person at the door know someone is home and to go away or they will call the police. Many burglars have stated to law enforcement that they will knock on doors, and if it appears no one is inside, they will proceed to break-into the residence. This can result in a child, or even you, now being inside with a burglar.
  • Children should understand they must ALWAYS have their parents’ permission for what they are doing, where they are going, and who they are going with at all times. Teach them this is for their safety.
  • They should know there is safety in numbers, and to use the “buddy system” whenever possible. This applies to adults too!
  • Never take shortcuts. If your children are given permission to walk to and from a certain location, ensure they understand to take the same route every time. Should something happen to them, law enforcement will need a point of reference to use as a starting point.
  • Children should learn to keep their personal space open. Teach them about personal boundaries. Remember, abductors will not have an opportunity to take them if they are not close enough to put their hands on them.
  • Teach children to be alert and aware of their surroundings.
  • Children should know that if they’re in danger, it is okay to be assertive in looking for someone to help them. It’s at this point a stranger could become their rescuer! A “safe person” may be another adult with children, first responder, or someone who is working—someone with a uniform and/or name tag. Teach them how to identify potential rescuers in a variety of community locations.
  • Children should know if they are in a dangerous situation they NEED to bring as much attention to themselves as possible, any way they can. By teaching children to “Velcro” themselves to a “safe person” is an excellent way of attracting attention.
  • Teach children how to use 9-1-1. Get in the habit of knowing where you are, or at least a landmark you are near, such as a school or business. The more details they can give to first responders, the more likely it will be for them to locate and properly identify the suspect.
  • Play the “What If” game with children. Have children try to think of various situations which could be potentially dangerous and talk about possible solutions to get out of the dangerous situation.
  • Try to teach children about staying calm, and not making scared reactions. Panicking and crying does not allow them to stay alert and look for their next opportunity to get away. It can be difficult for anyone to keep a level head in the heat of the moment, and it can be easy for parents to shy away from conversations that will or might upset their children; however, it is so much better for you as the caregiver to talk with your child and face the scary topics with them than to hope nothing bad ever happens or wonder how they will survive if it does.
  • By always being honest and talking with children openly and continuously this can be a topic which will not intimidate your children. If presented in a “matter of fact” manner, children will grow up realizing this, unfortunately, is just a part of life. Just like other tragedies such as fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, having a plan can help get you through this dangerous time in a safe way.

If you want to schedule a Safe Escape presentation for your school or community group, or would like more information on this topic, please contact the Bakersfield Police Department's Community Relations Unit at (661) 326-3053 or email bpdcommunity@bakersfieldpd.us