Tuesday, May 30, 2017
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Ensuring the safety of our children as they travel to school is one of the highest priorities of the Atascadero Police Department. The Police Department dedicates a considerable portion of its resources toward that goal with extra patrols in the school areas, educational efforts, and pro-active traffic enforcement. But our children’s safety is the responsibility of not only the Police Department but also our entire community.

Parents have a responsibility to teach their children how to cross streets safely, using marked crosswalks at intersections and watching carefully for vehicles. Warn your children against crossing in the middle of the block, from between parked vehicles, or without looking in both directions for approaching vehicles. If there are no sidewalks available, children should walk facing vehicle traffic at a reasonable distance away from the street and passing vehicles.

Dress your children in light colored clothing, particularly if they may be walking when there is reduced visibility for drivers due to rain, fog, or darkness. Constantly remind your children that sometimes drivers cannot see them easily or cannot stop their vehicles quickly even if they see them in the street.

As parents, drive responsibly and set a positive example for your children. Obey the posted speed limits when driving, particularly when driving through school zones. Do not pass a school bus with flashing red warning lights that is loading or unloading children. These types of traffic violations are serious offenses that the Atascadero Police Department aggressively enforces. There are stiff penalties attached to these violations by the traffic courts and the Department of Motor Vehicles.

There is always a concern among parents about stranger abductions. While these types of incidents are rare, unfortunately they do occur all too frequently in communities of all sizes and descriptions. To safeguard your children against even the unlikely possibility of stranger abduction, teach them certain basic safety tactics.

Teach your children to be wary if a stranger approaches them at any time or at any location and asks them to accompany him or her. Advise your children to be particularly aware of some of the more common ploys used by child abductors, such as asking for assistance in locating a lost dog or cat, offering candy or gifts, or telling a child that his or her mother or father asked them to pick them up. It may seem like common sense to you, but reinforce in your children not to accept a ride from a stranger. Tell your child to avoid walking alone in isolated locations or through alleys.

If a possible abductor approaches your child, teach him or her to run away as fast as possible and make as much noise as possible. Yell, scream, and attract attention. Run to the closest location in the area that may be occupied or to an occupied public building like a firehouse, library, or police station.

What is critical to the successful identification and apprehension of a suspected child abductor is basic information and how quickly the incident and the information are reported to the police. If a stranger who may be a potential abductor approaches your child, notify the police as quickly as possible. Teach your child to try to remember basic descriptions of the suspect and his or her vehicle. Even a minimal description can be extremely valuable. Children can make excellent witnesses if they are alert and prepared to remember simple details about a suspect or a vehicle.

If we as police, parents, teachers, children, and members of the community all do our part and work together we can all help make Atascadero a safer community for our children.

Category: Crime Prevention

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