Ways to avoid a kidnapping


After the kidnapping and miraculous rescue after four years of a boy from the state of Mo. that was finally reunited with his family, many parents are wondering how to speak to their children about abductions and kidnappings. No person wants to be in the news talking about their child being kidnapped and thus Eddie Alaniz, a police officer with the City of Moline, Ill. recommends these tips.
“Depending of the kid’s age, talk to your children about stranger danger.” Alaniz said.
“If they don’t know who the person is, tell the parents about suspicious activity. Don’t talk to them [the stranger].  Tell police, scream, make noise, do things like that. Don’t say anything,” Officer Alaniz said.
Parents should tell their children that kidnapping is rare but that it’s important to have a family plan, just in case. With the new age of information through the internet, telephone books, and other means of obtaining information, the kidnapper may even sound like a stalker. To a child, the information would sound like someone who knew the parents. “They’ll [kidnappers] will try to find information, if they didn’t hear it from the parents,” Officer Alaniz said.
The kidnappers will try to encourage the kid to go into their car. The kidnapper may offer some candy or have a real nice car. “Nowadays, things are so materialistic. That’s where it starts. The parents should use examples of the missing kids for proof,” Alaniz said.
The question on some people’s minds was why the boy in Mo. never escaped within the four years of captivity.  “Kids are so smart. What happens is that they are so young, they are taken out of their environment, shell shocked, and they’re scared…at a young age, you don’t know any better and the children feel comfortable. The kid was scared and at such a young age didn’t know what to do,” Alaniz said of the Mo. abduction case.
Sometimes a family splits up and one of the parents wants to take the kids away and in some cases they go overseas making the return home much harder.  This proves that in many cases the children are kidnapped by someone that they know. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children says that, “The biggest myth is dangers to children come from strangers. In the majority of cases the perpetrator is someone the parents/guardian or child knows, and that person may be in a position of trust or responsibility to the family.”
With the current immigration debate, some kidnappers may even threaten the kids with immigration status. “Kidnappers will try anything to do harm to the family. That’s a form of threat. A young kid could be scared. There are even grownups who are scared when immigration is mentioned. As a child, they believe what the kidnapper says,” Alaniz said.”
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children offered these ten tips.
1.  Make sure you know where each of your children are at all times.
2.  Never leave children unattended in a vehicle, whether it is running or not.
3. Be involved in your children’s activities.
4.  Listen to your children.
5.  Take the time to talk to your children.
6. Teach your children they have the right to say NO to anyone.
7.  Be sensitive to any changes in your children’s behavior and attitude.
8. Be sure to screen babysitters and caregivers.
9. Practice basic safety skills with your children.
10. Remember there is no substitute for your attention and supervision.

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