With sunny skies and school about to let out for the summer, more kids will be outside playing at parks or simply walking to their friend's house. This is also the time of year when child abductions can increase. In fact, there were two cases of attempted in Piapot and Kahkewistahaw First Nations which may have occurred last month. There were even two reports of an attempted abduction in Carlyle although, after an investigation, it was determined that it did not happen.
Staff Sgt. Darren Simons with the Carlyle RCMP shared that the best way to keep your kids safe can be summed up with one word.
"Education. You have to talk to your children. You have to make sure they understand that if it is a stranger, don't go with them, don't go near them, and to contact an adult as soon as possible if someone did try and approach you."
"Explain if this happens, what is expected."
Often in these types of situations, a good, clear description of the person of the vehicle is key for police to be able to investigate.
"It's tough because each kid have different observations and when they're scared, they see things differently as do most humans. But if they do feel something happened, get as best a description as possible. The sooner the parent finds out, the sooner the police find out and the quicker we can respond and confirm whether this was an innocent act, whether it did happen or put out extra members so we can find someone if someone did make an abduction."
"If someone is in a vehicle, a child can run faster than they can get out of the vehicle and chase after them. Don't go near a vehicle you don't know."
He added that the use of password should someone other than a parent pick up a child after school is a good way to ensure that the child feels safe.
"That just makes kids feel a little safer. I moved around a lot on military bases. There could be a time when someone besides Mom or Dad would come and pick me up. We had a password. Today in a lot of small communities, you can't pick up someone at the school unless the teacher or the principal knows who you are."
"You have to talk to your children. The fear can be diminished by education, by talking to children. If you talk to children about all different scenarios, they're more comfortable if something does happen."
"You don't want to take the freedom away."
He added that while this is a relatively rare occurrence in Canada, it can be something that can bother children and it's important to have those conversations with your kids.
"Ask them questions, dig deep. "Are you okay today?" "Yes." That's not a good enough answer, dig deep, try and get more answers."
"And parents, if you have concerns, contact the police if you don't know how to deal with it. There are lots of resources out there as well. But the biggest thing is that you have to talk and you have to share."