Recent attempted abductions have local law enforcement on edge

Published: Aug. 2, 2017 at 5:04 PM CDT
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Slocomb Police are searching for three men who they say tried to abduct a 12 year old boy from his yard Sunday night along State Highway 52.

The department released a BOLO for a 1990’s Model White Ford work van with bars on the back window. According to the report, 3 Hispanic males in the van tried to lure a child from the yard. The child was not taken physically or harmed.

There was also another attempted abduction nearby in Hartford involving a girl riding a bike.

She was not physically harmed either.

The Geneva County Sheriff's Office cannot say whether or not the cases are related.

However, they are emphasizing the importance of teaching your children steps to take, in the event of the unthinkable.

"It's always better to be safe than sorry,” says Chief Deputy Danny Staley. “It only takes one time for it to go south like that. You may do this 100 times and nothing may ever come out of it so it's always better to be safe."

The Slocomb Police Department recently released some tips on preventing abductions:

1.Don't walk away with anyone other than a parent, or the person who was already arranged to take care of you that day.

2.Remember, an adult does not need help from a child - not to find a puppy, not for anything. If an adult is asking you for help, that's a warning sign.

3.Avoid getting into a car with a stranger at all costs.

4.Know the rules: what is OK and what is not OK, and have confidence to take action if you feel someone is trying to take advantage of you.

The most important thing parents can do is to communicate openly with their children at home. Have a home atmosphere in which kids can let you know what is going on in their life. A very important point is to re-learn old concepts of adult/children interaction. Teach your child his rights. He has the right to say "no." Children should know there are different rules for different situations; they don't have to always be polite. Politeness can translate into doing what the potential abductor says.

Teach Your Child Techniques to Avoid Being Taken

In any potential abduction situation, there are windows of opportunity for the child to make choices that could save his or her life. Abductors win through intimidation, so it is very important to give your child good self-esteem and the confidence to carry through these possibly life-saving techniques. Consider practicing these techniques at home or school, with other parents and kids. The more kids practice, the more they will remember these techniques, and the more secure and confident they will feel in following through if they ever have to.

1.The Velcro technique - Make like Velcro: Grab and hold onto something and do not let go. Grab a tree, grab a bike, grab a stop sign post, or even grab a different adult, because another adult is not usually involved in an abduction. This makes it harder to disengage a child in an attempted abduction.

2.Yell as loud as you can "Stop, Stranger!" - Teach your child that anyone that is not a mother or father is in the new definition of a stranger if they are trying to take you away.

3.Windmill technique or swimming technique - Rotate arms in a big circle, preventing attacker from getting a good grip. This can turn attackers arms inside out - which is a weaker position from which he could grab hold of the child.

4.Make a lot of noise - Give a child a whistle on a necklace and teach them to blow on that whistle when they might be in danger. Bang on something, scream, be loud to call attention from others who might be able to help. A good commotion can frighten an abductor and by shifting the balance of power, turn the tables on them.

How to escape from a car

If a child is somehow placed into a car by an abductor, there is usually a three-hour windowof opportunity. The abductor doesn't usually hurt the child immediately - there is time to escape if the child-learned-behavior allows the child not to panic and be reactive. Therefore, it is helpful for children to know methods of escaping, such as the following:

1.Reach for the door and try to get out immediately.

2.Do not be passive. In a four-door car, the child can jump in the backseat and try the door quickly.

3.If the child is placed in a trunk, don't panic: Look for a panel in the trunk that comes right out when you pull on it. Tear the wires to the tail-lights and brakes. Police might then pull the abductor over.

Abductors are often someone whom the child knows

Abductors don't usually fit the stereotypical profile of a scary, creepy stranger or dirty old man. Motives are often sexual and most are not true strangers. They target children and seek their confidence by developing a casual relationship with them. Family abductors make up the majority of kidnap offenders, as in a custody battle.

Final safety reminders for parents

1.Know where your children are, and know who they know.

2.Pay attention to changes in your child's behavior.

3.Never leave your child alone in a public place, car, or stroller.

4.Never ask a stranger to hold your baby, even for an instant.

5.Don't label their lunch boxes or clothing.

6.Don't let children go out alone. Remember the buddy system in swimming.

7.Teach your child their telephone number, how to contact you and a close friend.

8.Pay attention to threats.

9.In custody battles, get social security, credit card numbers, and addresses.

10.Take a lot of photos of your child and keep them current.

11.Keep dental and medical records.

12.Have a neighborhood meeting so that children know safe houses in the neighborhood where they can run in the case of an emergency.

13.Never open the door without having a secret password between you and your child.

14.Older children should be encouraged to use their critical thinking and intuition, and to anticipate, for example, slow-driving cars in front of a neighborhood or playground.

Remember, above all else, safety first. Prevention is the key. Develop a family plan of action for emergency and crisis situation, and practice and rehearse them with your children through role modeling and role-playing. Teach your children the rules, and give them the confidence they need to be able to