(WARKWORTH, ON) –On February 21, 2018 the Northumberland Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) responded to a report of a student being offered a ride by a stranger in a blue van on Church Street while on her way to school. The student refused and notified a teacher when she arrived at school. Police were then immediately contacted.
Detectives with the Northumberland Crime Unit identified the suspect resulting in a 54 year old Windsor, Ontario man being interviewed. Police have now concluded their investigation into this incident and would like to remind parents to educate their children about safety when:
Going To and From School
• Walk the route to and from school with your children, pointing out landmarks and safe places to go if they’re being followed or need help. If your children ride a bus, visit the bus stop with them to make sure they know which bus to take.
• Remind kids to take a friend whenever they walk or bike to school. Remind them to stay with a group if they’re waiting at the bus stop.
• Caution children never to accept a ride from people they do not know.
Out and About
• Take your children on a walking tour of the neighbourhood and tell them whose homes they may visit.
• Remind your children it’s OK to say NO to anything that makes them feel scared, uncomfortable, or confused and teach your children to tell you if anything or anyone makes them feel this way.
• Teach your children to check in with you if there is a change of plans.
• Teach your children to never approach a vehicle, occupied or not, unless they know the owner and are accompanied by a parent, guardian, or other trusted adult.
• Practice “what if” situations and ask your children how they would respond. “What if you fell off your bike and you needed help? Who would you ask?”
• During family outings, establish a central, easy-to-locate spot to meet for check-ins or should you get separated.
• Teach your children how to locate help at theme parks, sports stadiums, shopping malls, and other public places. Also, identify those people who they can ask for help, such as uniformed law enforcement, security guards and store clerks with nametags.
• Teach your children that if anyone tries to grab them, they should make a scene and make every effort to get away by kicking, screaming, and resisting.