Kamloops Mounties are offering street-proofing tips after a student reported possibly being followed.
On Friday, Feb. 19, at about 3:20 p.m., police received a report of a suspicious person near Kay Bingham elementary, at 950 Southill St. in Brocklehurst.
Const. Crystal Evelyn said a student was walking home when she noticed a man who appeared to be following her. She ran back to school and eventually lost sight of the person.
The man is white, has a medium build and stamds about six feet tall. He had a grey beard to his chest and was wearing a red jacket and green-checkered cap.
“This is a great example of a student who was alert, aware of her surroundings and did the right thing by going back to her school and finding a trusted adult to help,” Cpl. Dana Napier said, noting that while incidents of child abduction are rare, it never hurts to reinforce basic safety principals with kids in case they are approached.
“As the weather warms up and more kids start walking to and home from school, it’s a good time to review safety tips with them,” Napier said.
On that note, Kamloops RCMP offers these street-proofing tips for parents and guardians to discuss with their children:
— Everyday basics:
• Know their home address and landline phone number;
• Know how to contact their parents on their cellphones or at work;
• Know how and when to call 9-1-1 in an emergency from a phone;
• Establish a code word for your family. This should be used in emergencies to identify a “safe person” other than a parent or caregiver;
• Play what-if games with younger children to reinforce these safety messages
— In the community:
• Children and teens should play and walk to places with a buddy. If they become separated or lost, they should tell someone with a nametag (for example, a cashier or security guard) immediately;
• Avoid conversations with strangers. If someone they do not know asks personal questions, such as where they live, do not answer. Run away or leave the situation immediately;
• It’s acceptable to say “no” to adults who ask them to do something for them, such as help them find a lost pet, join them in an activity or game or give them directions;
• Never walk with or accept a ride, money or gifts from strangers or even someone they may know without checking with parents or guardians. Keep a safe distance (two arm lengths) from strangers and cars that approach;
• If a person tries to grab them, scream loudly, make a lot of noise and try to create a disturbance (e.g. knock things over, scatter belongings, kick wildly). Shout, “Help, this person is not my parent!” Run to a safe location, such as an open store;
• If a vehicle is involved, have them try to get the licence plate number and a description of the stranger(s) and vehicle(s). Call 9-1-1 for help;
• If they are taking a public bus, always sit near the bus driver;
• Reduce the use of headphones or use of electronic devices that can distract them from their surroundings when walking.