Children First: Safe Spots

By: Stephanie Stang
By: Stephanie Stang

Lately the news has been filled with stories of young children being abducted and now many area parents may be worried about their own child's safety. A program here in South Central Kentucky called "Safe Spots" is working to help ease those fears.

Safe Spots are yellow triangles found throughout south central Kentucky that children can look for and go to when they are in danger. Hundreds of these triangles are posted throughout the community.

The program works in three parts: schools, police, and businesses. The schools educate the children about the program. The police train the businesses. The businesses volunteer to be a safe spot. Organizers of the program say the more places children can go for help the safer our children will be.

Currently there are 500 businesses involved in the program. For more information log on to www.safespot.org.

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Abduction Statistics

  • In 2001 there were about 725,000 children reported missing, or nearly 2,000 per day.

  • Each year there are about 3,000 to 5,000 non-family abductions reported to police, most of which are short term sexually-motivated cases.

  • About 200 to 300 of these cases, or six percent, make up the most serious cases where the child was murdered, ransomed or taken with the intent to keep.

  • Current NCMEC data indicates that the number of serious child abduction cases like Samantha and Elizabeth are consistent with last year’s numbers. However, The Center believes that these numbers are decreasing, projecting that there will be about 100 of these types of cases this year with nearly one-half resulting in the death of the child.

Safety Tips for Parents

  • Be sure to go over the rules with your children about whose homes they can visit when you’re not there and discuss the boundaries of where they can and can’t go in the neighborhood.

  • Always listen to your children and keep the lines of communication open. Teach your children to get of out of dangerous or uncomfortable situations right away, and practice role-playing and basic safety skills with them.

  • Teach your children in whose car they may ride. Children should be cautioned never to approach any vehicle, occupied or not, unless accompanied by a parent or trusted adult.

  • Make sure children know their names, address, telephone numbers and how to use the telephone.

  • Choose babysitters with care. Obtain references from family, friends and neighbors.

Safety Tips for Children

  • Always check first with your parents or the person in charge before you go anywhere or do anything.
  • Always take a friend when you play or go somewhere.
  • Don’t be tricked by adults who offer you special treats or gifts or ask you for help.
  • Don’t be afraid to say no and get away from any situation that makes you feel uncomfortable or confused. Trust your feelings.
  • Don’t get into a car or go near a car with someone in it unless you are with your parents or a trusted adult. Never take a ride from someone without checking first with your parents.
  • Never go into a public restroom by yourself.
  • Never go alone to the mall, movies, video arcades or parks.
  • Stay safe when you’re home alone by keeping the door locked. Do not open the door for or talk to anyone who stops by unless the person is a trusted family friend or relative.

Source: http://www.missingkids.org/ (National Center for Missing and Exploited Children Web site) contributed to this report.


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