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Tips for Preventing Child Abductions

Recent notorious child abductions have struck fear into every parent or grandparent's heart.
The Anne Arundel County Police Department Crime Prevention Unit can be contacted at (410) 222-0042 for specific ideas about protecting the children of Anne Arundel County.
Child Safety Tips
  1. Check out babysitters, suspicious people in the neighborhood and anyone you hire to work in your home. Many states list convicted sexual predators on special Web sites. You can obtain information at the FBI’s Web site or by calling your local FBI office. Get references of people you want to hire and be sure to check them out.
  2. After workers leave your home, check ALL windows and doors to make sure they are locked.
  3. Never leave garage door openers or spare house keys “hidden” in spots where they might easily be found.
  4. Tell your children that, “Strangers mean danger”. If someone stops next to them in a car, tell them to run away toward the rear of the car since backing up fast is difficult.
  5. If youngsters are on a bike, hold it between them and the abductors car. If they are pulled into a car, they should jump into the backseat as soon as possible and try to escape through the window.
  6. Develop code words for anyone you trust to pick up your children and teach your little ones the code. Tell them not to ride or go with anyone who doesn’t know the code.
  7. Know the places your children play, learn about their friends and friends’ families - especially before they go to people’s homes to play.
  8. Show children safe places in your neighborhood to run to if they feel threatened - the home of a trusted friend, the local police station or firehouse.
  9. Tell children to trust their instincts. “If they think something’s wrong with someone they meet, they should run away.”
  10. Warn children not to fall for common lures such as: needing help finding a lost puppy. Some molesters tell youngsters they are cute and want to take their picture, or that they have a toy or candy for them. When children hear these approaches from a stranger, they should run fast to a safe place.
  11. If kids get lost while shopping they should go to the nearest security guard or cashier. DO NOT ASK A SHOPPER THEY DON’T KNOW AND DO NOT GO INTO THE PARKING LOT TO SEARCH FOR YOU.
  12. Children can make a potential abductor panic and flee by screaming at the top of their lungs, “He’s kidnapping me!!!!!,”  or “Fire” will quickly bring attention to the attempted abduction.
  13. Tell children to walk on sidewalks, as far away from the curb as possible against the flow of traffic so they can see who’s approaching. That will make it more difficult for them to be surprised by a driver and quickly snatched.
  14. Never let your little children use a public restroom by themselves.
  15. Warn older children never to hitchhike.
  16. Review the security policy of your child’s school and day-care centers. Don’t be shy about speaking up if you see a flaw.
  17. Avoid putting your children’s names on their garments and possessions. When children hear their names called, they let their guard down, thinking it’s someone they know.
  18. For identification purposes, take a lock of your child’s hair for DNA.
  19. Prepare your children well - these (abductors and predators) are anywhere - and it can happen anywhere! 
Safety Tips for Teens
  • Keep your parents informed of your whereabouts. 
  • When taking a trip have your route mapped out and travel time included. Call the party you are visiting to let them know your departure time and call home upon your arrival. 
  • Don’t make a habit of traveling alone, i.e., walking, jogging, bike riding. 
  • Stay away from things that may make you vulnerable, i.e., drugs & alcohol. 
  • If you drive a vehicle - don’t pick up strangers or hitchhikers. 
  • Stay away from remote areas that you are unfamiliar with. 
  • Know your child’s friends, their parents, addresses and contact numbers. 
  • Have a set of rules for your kids to follow and enforce them. 
  • Working and/or busy parents must take the time to relearn their children and their habits. 
  • Get involved in your children’s lives.  Be A Parent! 
  • Don’t say  -  “You know how kids are today!”
  • Kids are how you allow them to be!
McGruff's Safety Tips
Image: McGruffHello there!  I’m McGruff. You’re probably wondering what a dog like me can tell you about “playing it safe.”  Plenty. That’s my job, but I need your help to prevent crime.  Here are some tips to help you, your friends, and your family to be safe"
  • Say no to anyone who tries to give you drugs, except medication from your parents or doctor.
  • Say no if anyone offers you a cigarette; marijuana and tobacco are very bad for you.
  • Say no if anyone offers you beer, wine, or whiskey; all are bad for you.
  • Say no and go tell a trusted adult if someone tries to touch you where it makes you uncomfortable.
  • Always ask for your parents’ permission before you go anywhere.
  • Always tell your parents where you will be playing.
  • Say no if a stranger asks you to go with him or take a ride.
  • Say no if a stranger asks you to help find something.
  • Say no if a stranger asks you to go into his house.
  • Always walk and play outside with a friend.
  • Never take shortcuts or play in lonely places.
  • If someone bothers you, tell a trusted adult.
  • Never hitchhike!
  • Don’t give information over the phone to anyone you don’t know.
  • Lock up your things.
  • Call the police or sheriff for an I.D. number to put on your things.
  • Learn to use the locks on all doors and windows.
  • Remember, don’t play with matches; fire destroys!
  • Stealing is wrong.
  • Never damage or destroy property.
If you see something wrong, remember as much as you can.
Be alert!  Call the police if something is wrong.
By learning how to stop crime, you can help me, McGruff, your Police and Sheriff, “Take a bite out of crime.”

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Anne Arundel County, Maryland. 44 Calvert Street, Annapolis, Maryland 21401 | Tele: (410) 222-7000