Child Abduction Prevention
Statistically, abductions from a child's home are very rare, but receive lots of media publicity. The following are a few steps you can take to protect your child in your home. These steps will also help prevent a burglary, but it may just protect your children.
- Keep doors and windows locked. An open window is an invitation for a burglar or predator.
- Install motion lights that activate if a person walks near the perimeter of your home.
- Plant large bushes under the first floor windows to further make entry difficult.
- Keep ladders locked in the garage or tool shed, making entry into second floor windows difficult.
- Obtain a family dog. It does not need to be a vicious dog, but one that will bark and notify the home to an intruder or a suspicious person walking around the house. Draper Animal Services is a great place to find a new best friend.
- Use wooden dowels in the tracks of windows and sliding glass doors to reinforce the locking device.
- Avoid placing bars on the windows — this causes a fire hazard. A fire is much more likely than an abduction.
- Talk to your child(ren) about an intruder. Teach them to scream or notify you immediately if an intruder is seen, regardless of threats made by the intruder.
The internet and chat rooms have become tools of pedophiles and individuals who want to exploit children. Take the following steps to help protect your child from these predators by teaching your kids:
- Never give out personal information — including home address, school name, phone number, or photographs of yourself — to anyone online.
- Never agree to meet anyone you encounter online.
- Tell parents or teachers if they are asked online to meet anyone.
- Do not respond to messages that contain information or photographs that make them feel uncomfortable.
- Do not open or accept e-mails, files, links, URL's or other things from people you don't know or trust.
- Do not give your password to anyone but your parents or legal guardian.
Parents can also help protect children by:
- Taking the time to see what kids are doing online and what their interests are.
- Talking about who they are communicating with online.
- Setting rules that your child never arranges an in-person meeting without you present.
- Sharing your child's e-mail account and password.
- Placing your home computer in the family room or kitchen so you know when your children are online.
- Obtaining parental control tools that block access to inappropriate materials and help you monitor your child's activity on the internet. These can be obtained through your Internet Service Provider, bought from your local computer store, downloaded free from the internet, or may be part of some browsers.
- In 80% of abductions by strangers, the first contact (and most frequently the abduction) takes place within 1/4 mile from the victim's home.
- In 74% of non-family abductions, the victims are female.
- Each year 3,600 - 4,200 children are abducted by someone outside the family.
- 50% of abduction victims are 12 years of age or older, 66% are female.
Tools Available to the Draper Police Department if an Abduction is Reported
The Draper Police Department takes missing person reports for adults and juveniles immediately. There does not have to be a time frame for the missing person to have been missing before we will respond. We invest a large number of resources to missing children calls immediately. We have very specific protocol for officers, supervisors and detectives to help find missing people.
Additionally the Draper Police Department has the following programs/tools available to assist in the investigation of an abducted or missing child:
- Member Agency of the Utah Child Abduction Response Team
- Convicted Sex Offender mapping
- Crystal system (CAAP - Child Abduction Alert Program)
- Reverse 911 Calls by A Child Is Missing
- Parolee/Probationers mapping
- Registered Ex-Felon mapping
- Vehicle description searches through the DMV database
- Partial license plate researches through the DMV database
- Tattoo searches
Talk to Your Kids
The first suggestion from experts is a good, open line of communication. Communication means listening as well as speaking. Have a password in place that is kept secret between family members. Teach your child not to leave with anyone who does not know the password. Make it simple and practice it often. Abductions of any type are very rare from a school.
- Not tell a caller that he/she is home alone if they answer the phone.
- Never answer the door if they are home alone.
- Never invite someone into the home without a parent or baby sitter's permission.
- Never enter a person's house without telling your parents or someone where you are.
- Never enter a person's vehicle without permission.
- Never take candy or other gifts from strangers or any other person without permission.
- Avoid isolated areas and stay in public places.
- Avoid shortcuts through empty parks, fields, or alleys.
- Teach your children to walk and play in high visibility areas.
- Scream and scatter any belongings if they are forced towards a vehicle or home.
- Move away from a vehicle that pulls up next to them if they don't know the driver.
- Know that it is OK to say "no" to an adult if the adult is asking them to do something you have taught them not to do.
- Tell if someone touches them in an area their bathing suit covers.
- Tell a parent, a school official, or police officer if someone exposes themself, or approaches them.
- Tell their parent if someone has asked them to keep a secret from their parents, regardless of threats made.
- Walk to the nearest cashier if lost in a mall or store.
- Know their full name, address, and phone number at an early age.
- Know how to make a collect call.
- Know how to call 9-1-1.
- Play with a friend and walk with other kids.
- Children should be encouraged to use the buddy system. Have them walk and play in groups of at least two.
- Run in the opposite direction of the way a suspicious vehicle is traveling.
Older children should:
- Tell their parents where they are, or where they are going to be at all times. Instruct the child to leave a message if you are unavailable.
- Never hitchhike.
- Avoid shortcuts through empty parks, fields, or alleys.
- Run home or go to the nearest public place and yell for help if you are being followed.
- Learn to recognize suspicious behavior and remember a description of the person or vehicle to give to the police.
- If attacked for clothing, money, or jewelry, give it up rather than risking injury.
Children of all ages have a better chance of surviving an abduction situation if they do everything in their power to avoid being taken to a second location.
Steps for Parents
- Avoid putting your child's name on their clothes or toys. A child is less likely to be suspicious of someone who knows their name.
- Check all potential babysitters and older friends of your child.
- Never leave your child alone in a public place, stroller, or a car.
- Always accompany your child to the bathroom in a public place.
- Always accompany your child on door-to-door activities such as Halloween, school fund raising, etc.
- Show the location of "safe homes" in the neighborhood that the children can run to if they are being chased or followed. If possible mark the homes with a sign.
- Teach your child that the police are their friend and they can rely on them if they are threatened.
- Talk to your children and tell them they can call you for a ride anytime, anywhere.
- Keep updated color photographs of your child, medical and dental records, and have your child fingerprinted.
- Listen when your child tells you they don't want to be with someone — find out why.
- Notice if someone pays undue attention to your child.
- Designate meeting places, in advance, if your child is separated from you at a public place.
- Teach your child that it is not fun to runaway from home. Nothing is so terrible that you can't tell your parents or someone you trust.
- Love and cuddle your children. Many pedophiles will shower a child with affection in an attempt to gain their trust and manipulate sexual activity.
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