One of the best ways to protect children is to teach them ways to protect themselves.
It's an important reminder in light of t from a city park, a recent attempt by a , and this week's 30th anniversary of the disappearance of West Des Moines' Johnny Gosch while he was on his morning paper route.
Parents, schools and police need to instill kids with the tools they need to remember if someone attempts to abduct them, said DARE Officer Jeff Casey of the Urbandale Police Department.
"My number one rule I have for my (sons) is to always pay attention," Casey said. "Because if you don't pay attention you're going to get hurt, or someone's going to get hurt."
Here are his tips for parents:
- Strangers can mean danger. "Never get tricked by them. They'll be friendly and everything, but if you don't know that person, then you're not going with them."
- If confronted with a situation, run to a safe place like a school or a store. "There are safe zones. ... There are some special strangers that will help you out, the people behind a counter, police forces, etc."
- Never get into a car with a stranger. You can give directions, but don't get close to the car. "If they say they can't hear you, don't go closer." If you wind up in a car, do anything you can to get out. "Crash it. If you get hurt, that's better than what might happen to you."
- Never go into a stranger's house. "The only time you'd ever go to a stranger's house is if the danger outside is greater."
- Stay in public places. "Never be alone, always let your parents know where you're at. ... Always try to have a partner."
- If something doesn't feel right, get out of the situation. "There's traps all over. That's what people do. They'll make you think that you're their friend, and before you know it, you're in trouble."
- Never give up.