Children are our most precious
resource. Unfortunately, because of their vulnerability, children are popular
targets for child molesters, drug dealers, and other predatory criminals. By
working with children and teaching them crime prevention measures, we can
substantially reduce the chances of child victimization.
An important tool for teaching
children personal security is reinforcing their trust in the adults who care for
them, e.g., parents, police and teachers. To further lessen the chances of
children becoming victims, the following objectives should be stressed:
Inform your children
they can be safer if they form good habits and follow some simple rules. One
good rule for children to remember is: never go anywhere with anyone
without their parentsí permission;
children to confide in you, even if the subject feels uncomfortable;
Teach your children the difference between good strangers and bad strangers.
Good strangers are police officers, teachers and firefighters. Children should
seek assistance from them if they are in trouble. Children should avoid other
Discourage your children from keeping bad secrets. Bad secrets include an
adult telling a child not to tell that the adult offered to give the child
candy if the child would get into his or her car. Another example would be if
an adult tries to touch the private body parts of a child and then tells the
child not to tell anyone. Private body parts are parts of the body covered by
a bathing suit. Child molesters have also been known to approach children and
fake a family emergency. A good example would be a child molester who drives
to a school bus stop and tells a child, "Your dad is hurt and your mom
wants you to come with me to the hospital." The chances are high that a
child placed in this circumstance might be tempted to get into the car. That
is why parents should select a family code word that they and their children
know. If a stranger does not know the code word, the children will know not to
trust him or her. A good secret is keeping a family code word confidential.
Children should know:
parents' full name and work telephone number;
let anyone touch them where their underwear or swimsuit should cover;
OK to run away and scream "HELP" if someone tries to
make them do something they don't want to do;
OK to tell if someone offers them gifts or money, or wants to
Rules for parents:
your children to communicate with you. If someone is causing them to be
anxious, fearful, or concerned for their safety, but has not attempted overt
acts, parents need to know about it;
extreme caution when selecting a babysitter, preschool or day care center.
Check their references and have face-to-face meetings with the babysitter,
preschool and day care center personnel who will be looking after your
Parents should know:
It is recommended that children not wear clothing with their
name prominently displayed. Children may respond to a stranger who calls them by
name. If you must mark your child's clothing, don't put the name in an obvious
place. Instead, mark the inner lining of a hat or jacket.
Family Safety Plan
Should an emergency occur and
someone is designated to pick up your children, make sure you've discussed a
code word with your children in advance. The code word acts as a signal to your
children that you have sent an authorized person to act on your behalf. Parents
should stress the importance of keeping the code word a secret.
Who to Call
In the event your child is
missing, spread the word by calling the police, hospitals, schools, neighbors
and especially your child's friends. Contact every possible source of help.
Keep an up-to-date identification
file of your children. This file should include:
- A physical description that
includes height, weight, hair color, eye color, distinguishing marks and
- A set of fingerprints or
- A mental note of what your
children were wearing when you last saw them.
We have attempted to establish a
"crime prevention attitude" for parents and children. The importance
of practicing a "crime prevention attitude" cannot be stressed enough!
Play crime prevention roles with your children and teach them how to respond. If
properly prepared, your children will automatically take the correct crime
prevention action in a dangerous situation. It is important to practice with
your children and to encourage a "crime prevention attitude" in their