Child abduction is a parent’s worst nightmare. After writing The Wind Cries Mary: Murders That Shook a Power Town, I learned a great deal about predators who abduct children. A parent can help prevent their from child falling victim to a predator. There are common threads concerning the safety measures that parents whose children were abducted or victimized failed to enact and we can learn from them. Below are a list of tips to help you keep your children safe from abduction and victimization.
Do not let your children out of your sight. All to often I hear of parents who let their children out to play and do not watch them because they are right outside or in the neighborhood. Children are abducted from their front porches, in their front and back yards and literally moments away from their home. When your children are outside you should always keep an eye on them and not let them out of your sight.
- Lock your doors and windows. Children are abducted out of their own beds at night. You must lock your doors and windows.
- Get a dog or an alarm system. If you cannot afford an alarm system, a small dog is better than an alarm because a dog does not rely on electronics that can fail. Their bark will let you know if someone has entered your home. In the greatly publicized Dr. Petit case, whose wife and two daughters were murdered by Steven Hayes and his accomplish, he stated that the reason they chose the Petit house is because they didn’t have a dog. If there had been a dog they would never have entered their home.
- Know your neighbors. When you move into an area, check the sex offender’s registry to see if an offender lives near your home. If you do not see one listed, do not let your guard down, in some cases the abductor was a neighbor who fed his mind with child porn and had never been arrested.
- Get your child a GPS tracking device or cell phone. They sell GPS tracking devices that you can place in your child’s backpack. When they get older you can give them a cell phone which can be tracked. In one instance an abducted girl was rescued because she was able to phone her mother for help and the police were able to trace the location of the call and find her.
- Educate your child. Educate your children against talking to strangers, taking rides, and not believing anyone who says that you sent them to pick them up. Instruct your kids to always be aware of their surroundings.
- Trust No One. You never know who you are dealing with. Predators can do a good job pretending to care about your children. Always keep a watchful eye on anyone who is around your children.
Know this about Predators
Predators are opportunists. If they see an opportunity they will act. If they find a child alone they will spring into action. If they are involved with your family and can spend uninterrupted time with their intended victim they will seize the opportunity.
There was the case of a five year old girl who was in church with her mother and the girl had to go to the bathroom. Mom sent her there alone. A man happened to walk in and saw the girl and abducted and murdered her. This man never committed a crime before but had entertained the fantasy. When he saw the girl by herself, he couldn’t resist giving into his temptation. In the mean time, mom thought her daughter was safe going alone to the bathroom because they were in church.
Predators are good actors. They are so good at their role that you will not know them at first, but as good as they are actors, their actions will not match their words and you will see these contradictions. When you do, you must follow your gut.
Predators Prey on the Vulnerable, Weak and Unsuspecting. Besides the attempts on children who they find alone, sometimes parents let predators into their children’s lives. If you are trusting and walk around as if you have blinders, you are vulnerable. Also particularly vulnerable are single women with children. A predator can come in under the guise of liking the mother and he comes in as a rescuer but really is a predator.
If you follow these tips for keeping your children safe from abduction you will eliminate the opportunities for predators and help to keep your child safe from abduction and victimization.