Expert gives tips for parents on edge after reports of stranger approaching children
WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Wichita police are investigating after reports of two close calls this week involving children walking to and home from school. Police said in separate cases from Monday, two students reported a suspicious man approaching them.
Friday, KWCH reporter Abbey Higginbotham spoke with personal protection expert Joe Schillaci on the advice parents can give their children to help the stay safe.
In the incidents reported Thursday, one involved a man asking t give a child a ride home, the other involved a man following a child on their way home. Both children are safe, but that wasn’t enough to keep parents from being rattled by the news Wichita police shared online.
Due to situations like those reported Thursday, father and grandfather Derrick Jackson said he makes sure children in his care are never out of his sight.
“Not even in the backyard at the house. They don’t ever our site,” he said.
Jackson said he taught his children to stay away from strangers.
Schllaci, a private detective, said this week’s reported incidents involving suspicious men aren’t common, but you should always be careful.
“Just because you don’t see many of them, that one case could be your child,” he said.
Schillaci said parents need to stay vigilant because in situations where children are walking home from school, a situation can turn dangerous in a matter of seconds.
“I have seen video of a child snatched up, ‘snap,’ like that, in a blink of an eye,” he said. “I saw a mother turn one second, turn back, and child’s gone.”
Schillaci said he doesn’t want to alarm parents, but it’s important to teach children about “stranger danger’ as soon as possible to avoid a bad situation.
Parents, you gotta teach them that they gotta bite, they gotta scream. I gotta do whatever it takes to get away from that situation,” he said. “I mean, fight, fight, fight. I can’t say it enough.”
With Thursday’s reports, Wichita police say investigators are actively looking into both incidents. Police say if you see anything suspicious in your neighborhood, don’t hesitate to speak up.
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