A school bus stop is an easy target for child predators!
Child abductions from school bus stops are a startling fact that no parent wants to think about.
And yet a 10-year-old girl was abducted as she walked to her bus stop and was sexually assaulted in Atlanta, GA just a few weeks ago.
It’s to warn you that this really does happen. And far too often.This isn’t meant to scare you.
While several of these abductions were attributed to non-custodial parents, many were done by persons unknown to their victims. As a father of two young boys, I can only imagine the horror those parents must have went through.
I know that a lot of you reading this will remember a time when society was far more forgiving when it came to allowing children the autonomy to be on their own. You didn’t have to think twice about allowing your kids to go outside, ride their bike, or visit neighbors.
That world no longer exists.
In today’s society, with all of its cutting edge technology, we tend to let our guard down.
We have become too complacent.
As a veteran police officer I have dealt with, and investigated, a number of these monsters. As such, I have some valuable insight that may help keep your little ones safe from child predators.
The following list is comprised of steps you can take as a parent to prevent your child from being abducted at a bus stop.
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1. Have a parent present if possible
Far easier said than done, I know. The demands placed on parents today are just plain insane. With the never ending school activities and other commitments it is easy to see how having a parent present is not always possible.
A good plan is to coordinate with other parents to ensure that someone is always there.
I cannot stress this point enough. Adult supervision is a huge deterrent.
To be fair, I lucked out as my children were growing up.
When I began working nights as a detective, and my 11 year-old son went back to school, two of the fathers that happened to be “stay at home Dads” always covered in case I couldn’t make it or needed sleep.
If either of you happen to read this, thank you!
While it’s not foolproof, never in all my years of policing have I worked a bus stop abduction that occurred when an adult was present. Common sense goes a long way in preventing crimes of opportunity.
2. Pay attention to details
Make sure you remember the clothing that your child wore that day, to include any clothing that may have labels or easily identifiable logos.
I can’t tell you how many times we have responded to a missing or abducted child where the family totally whiffed on what the child was wearing or even the color of the clothing itself. I know that your average person is not trained like police officers to be hyper vigilant on the tiniest of details…
…but if your child is wearing a red Scooby Doo hoody then please make a mental note.
3. Get informed
This includes being current on the registered sex offenders living in your neighborhood.
Each state provides their own website, usually maintained by the state police, that provides this information. If you are unable to locate a site, go to Vinelink which is a national registry of sex offenders and their current addresses.
Most sites will even provide a photograph of the offender to include an address and the original charge that resulted in them being placed on the list.
If there is a bus stop that you feel is too close to that persons home, or involves your child walking by it to get to their bus stop, petition to the school to have the bus stop moved immediately.
Why risk it the safety of your child?
Schools are often willing to accommodate these requests.
Also, I believe knowledge is power. I recommend Intelius for vetting practices on anyone that just doesn’t seem right or comes off as less than trustworthy.
4. Be alert
If you or your child observes suspicious activity that seems odd or out of place, report it to the police immediately.
You know that feelin
g where the hair on the back of your neck stands up? Yeah that.
I know you may think the suspicious individual isn’t necessarily committing a crime however your parental instincts are being triggered for a reason.
The police can, at minimum, take a suspicious activity report or possibly identify the individual for further follow up if necessary.
Several years ago I investigated a complaint of a suspicious male who would pull up to bus stops in his vehicle with a man-sized teddy bear sitting in the front passenger seat. Luckily one of the students was able to remember a partial license tag which led to the individual. Sure enough, a life sized stuffed bear was sitting in the vehicle parked in front of his house.
Let me be clear. Cop or no cop, when you see something like this, a life sized bear sitting in the front seat of a car, you know something is just not right.
It was later learned that the person was a registered sex offender.
While his activity near the school bus stops never rose to the level of a crime, he was monitored for several months.
Unsurprisingly, he was never seen near a school bus in our city again.
5. Common sense really does go a long way
Teach your child to never ever help an adult “look for a lost puppy” or get into a vehicle unless the adult is known to the child.
This seems so simple but this really is a common tactic used by pedophiles in luring children away from their surroundings.
Note: This doesn’t necessarily involve a bus stop scenario but a recent ruse I have seen used is when an individual knocks on the front door and asks to use the telephone. He emphatically explains that he and his wife, who just happens to be nine months pregnant, are lost and out of gas…your child has then just let someone into your home…
These degenerates will use any type of trick or deception to gain the confidence of their victims. The main point you want to express to your children is to not trust these strangers.
I know that this sort of thing is not fun to think or talk about. We’d all like to live in a world where cruelty towards children does not exist.
Unfortunately I know such evil does exist. And while I know that it is impossible to protect everyone, I hope that by sharing my thoughts we can prevent one parent and/or child from experiencing this ordeal.
Some of you have reached out and want to share your story with others. A blog like this one is a great way to reach those who could benefit from your experience and interests. Blogging has changed my perspective and my life.
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