Police: where children feel the most safe is often where they can disappear
Thu, 14 Jul 2011 22:36:15 GMT —
The story of an eight-year-old boy abducted and killed on his way home from day camp in Brooklyn is one we as parents watch in horror and we hold our own children a little closer.
Wednesday, police found the boy's dismembered remains in the suspect's freezer and in a dumpster nearby.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children says 800,000 children are reported missing each year.
Police say the abduction of Leiby Kletzky was a rare random act but if there's any good that can come out of something so tragic, it's a reminder to us all that children can vanish in a second.
For Tabitha Kelley of Florence, that means going to a place that should be relaxing, like the beach, is anything but.
"They're my responsibility. So, I can't let my guard down," said Kelley as she keeps an eye on the four children with her and everyone else.
"You don't know anybody and you don't know the people around you and you just can't trust people."
And she says her focus is a sign of the times.
"We would have never thought twice about walking to the grocery store or the convenience store," added Kelley, "but nowadays you don't know who's on the street next to you."
"Take those extra steps to make sure your child is safe," advised Sgt. Robert Kegler with the Horry County Police Department.
Sgt. Kegler says the places people feel most safe is often where a child can disappear.
That's what happened to Leiby Kletzky. The Brooklyn boy was walking home from camp Monday - in his own neighborhood - a route his parents practiced with him.
Police say he got lost, asked the wrong man for directions and was abducted and killed.
"It's always good to be cautious of your surroundings no matter where you're at to insure your safety and you don't become a victim."
You can't guarantee a child won't come into contact with the wrong person, so, Kegler says the best thing to do is warn them what to do if that happens.
"I tell them to scream. Everyone is always telling you to be quiet. If a stranger approaches you and tries to get you to come with them, that's when you make the most noise as you possibly can make," stressed Kegler, "you're not going to get in trouble."
And though Kelley says she has trouble trusting people here, she still finds it difficult to trust people in her own neighborhood.
"I live about two blocks from school and he wants to walk home from school. I haven't got enough nerve to let him do it yet," said Kelley.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children says it is more beneficial to help build children's confidence and teach them to respond to a potentially dangerous situation, rather than teaching them to look out for a particular type of person, because strangers don't always look strange.
For more suggestions on how to talk to your kids about abductions, click here.