Department of Public Safety Logo. Click to go to the Deparment of Public Safety home page.

Safety Tips

STAY AWAY FROM "STRANGERS"

"Stay away from strangers" is a popular warning to children to prevent abduction or exploitation. The term stranger suggests a concept that children do not understand and is one that ignores what we do know about the people who commit crimes against children. It misleads children into believing they should be aware only of individuals who have an unusual or sloppy appearance. While occasionally a "stranger" will abduct or exploit a child, many children are harmed by people who have some type of familiarity with them. It is more appropriate to teach our children to be on the lookout for certain kinds of SITUATIONS or ACTIONS rather than certain kinds of individuals.

CHILD SAFETY SKILLS

Though most kids pass through childhood without ever experiencing physical harm, some are frightened or hurt by crime. Adults can make a difference in a child’s life by listening to what they are saying about other people or places. Adults must also teach children how to protect themselves in threatening situations. Here are some things you can do to protect your children:

·  Rehearse their name, address and phone number (including the area code).

· Teach them how to make an emergency call from a home phone and pay phone.

· Help them become aware of dangers around them such as vacant houses, wooded areas, bad lighting, busy streets with no sidewalks, etc.

· Show them safe places in the neighborhood where they could go for help in an emergency.

· Make sure they know to go to a store clerk or security guard - but never outside- if they get lost in a store.

· Tell them that no one should ask to touch them anywhere their bathing suit covers, and that they should not be asked to touch anyone else in those areas.

· Remind them that nobody should ask them to keep special secrets from you.

· Have them walk confidently and stay alert to what is going on in the area around them

· Ask them to watch out for the smaller children and to report anyone who lurks around parks, bathrooms, schools etc.

· Teach them how to write down a license plate number.

· Make sure they can reach you by phone if they must be home alone.

· Post the numbers to emergency services, your work, a trusted neighbor, and a family member, near the telephone.

· Have them check in with you when they get home and before they go to a friend’s house.

· Agree on rules for having friends over when no adult is present.

· Remind them to never open the door to anyone including a repairman, a salesman, or an unexpected guest.

· Teach them to never tell anyone they are home alone either through the door or on the phone. Kids should always say that their parents are busy.

PREVENTING ASSAULTS

Assaults can happen to anyone at any time and any place. There are several things you can do to reduce your chances of being attacked:

AT HOME

· Keep your home securely locked and well lighted.

· Install a peephole in the door and use it.

· Beware of unexpected service calls or sales calls.

· Check identification before letting someone you don’t know in your house.

· Offer to make a phone call for a stranger who wants to come in to use your phone.

· If you come home and see signs of forced entry, go to a neighbor’s house and call the police to make sure nobody remains inside your home.

WHILE WALKING

· Be alert to your surroundings and the people around you.

· Stay in well lighted areas as much as possible.

· Walk confidently and at a steady pace.

· Walk close to the curb. Avoid doorways, bushes and alleys.

· Try not to walk alone especially at night, and always avoid areas where there are few people. The more people who see you walking, the less likely the assailant will want to make you his victim.

· Be careful when people stop you for directions. Always reply from a distance and never get too close to the car. · If you are in trouble, attract help any way you can. Scream for help or yell "fire" to attract attention.

WHILE DRIVING

· Keep your car in good working order and the gas tank at least half full.

· Park in well-lighted areas and lock the doors, even if you’ll only be gone a short time.

· Have your key ready before you reach your car but check the front and rear seats before you get in.

· Drive with your doors locked no matter what area you are in.

· Keep valuables such as purses and packages, out of sight.

· If you think you are being followed don’t drive home. Drive to an open gas station or business where you can call the police. If you can do so safely, get a license plate number and description of the car.

· If an unmarked police car attempts to stop you, signal to the officer that you see him and proceed to the nearest open business where there will be other people to watch. An assailant will usually go on when you involve witnesses.

IF YOU ARE ATTACKED

· Keep your head. Stay as calm as possible, think rationally and evaluate your resources and options.

· Keep assessing your situation as it is happening. If one strategy does not work, try another. Possible options are negotiating, stalling for time, distracting the assailant, and fleeing to a safe place.

DO YOU NEED A WEAPON?

· Beware of the false security that mace, pepper spray, electronic stun guns or handguns may give you. Weapons that are intended to hurt an assailant are often taken away and used against you.

· Carry a personal body alarm that makes a piercing noise and draws attention to your situation.

HOW TO REPORT A CRIME

1. Identify yourself - name, address, and telephone number -even if you are using 911

2. Tell the dispatcher the type of crime you are reporting.

3. Let them know if the crime is "in progress" or "has already occurred".

4. Where did the crime take place? Be as specific as possible.

5. Give descriptions of the suspect(s) · How many are there? · Are there any guns, knives, sticks, etc.? · What direction did they go? · Are they in a car or on foot? · Is anyone chasing the suspect(s)?

6. Describe the vehicle. · Is it a car - pickup - van? · What color is it? ·  What is the license plate number? · What state issued the license plate? · Are there any dents in the body? · Is there anything else that makes it unique? ·  What direction did it go?

7. Stay on the line until you are told to hang up.

8. After calling the police, call a neighbor so they can help watch for the suspect and assist you in giving a more complete description.

Emergency Phone Number for Fire - Police – Ambulance is 9-1-1

For further information on protecting children, you are invited to visit the following informative websites:

Children's Advocacy Alliance

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

 
Home   Offender Search   Registration Info   Statistics   Definitions
Warnings/Limitations   Credits   Related Links   Safety Tips   Contacts