Crime Prevention Corner - Keeping your family safe is your responsibility

Ron Craig, Crime Prevention/Community Policing Officer

        Keeping your family safe is nothing less than a full-time job. While it is impossible to keep your eyes on your entire family 100 percent of the time, there are things you can do to optimize your family’s safety.
        We can cover safety of other family members in future articles, but let’s start with your youngsters.
        Make sure your kids let you know where they are going to be and what time you can expect them to be home. This is not “spying” on your youngsters; it’s just good parenting.
        Make sure they know to call you if they are going to get home later than they originally told you. You should also know how to contact your youngsters when they are away from home by having a phone number of the other kids’ parents they will be with.
        It’s also good to have an open and honest dialogue with your kids. Tell them they can come to you about anything. Whoa! Anything? Yes, anything. Of course, this will require you to show some restraint if the topic is something you may not feel comfortable with yourself, but no one guaranteed you being a parent was going to be an easy task.
        Don’t be afraid to tell your youngster you’re going to have to give the topic some thought before you discuss a touchy subject. Use this time to consult with others, such as a doctor, minister, or school counselor. It’s better to give the right answer the first time than to give a bad answer then later change it.
        Another subject that’s difficult to talk to your kids about is “stranger danger.” It’s unfortunate we have to discuss it with our kids, but we had an incident in Lake Township recently that involved a kid being saved by doing the right thing when someone tried to abduct her.
        Teach your kid to holler and scream if he or she thinks someone is trying take him or her. Fight the perpetrator by kicking and punching. You might even want to teach some basic self-defense moves. Making a scene and fighting off an abductor can make the difference between becoming a victim and getting away.
        If you have an opportunity to obtain a child fingerprint and DNA kit, it is well worth your time to complete it. Most of these kits have a place to put a hair follicle in it for DNA use along with a dental chart.
        What may be more valuable for a parent to have, however, is something called a “video print” of a child. This is a 30- or 60-second video clip of your child talking into the camera.
        If a child is abducted, the abductor can change a child’s looks by cutting and/or coloring his or her hair, but the child’s voice is not changed. One key to this, however, is to make sure there is no background noise when the video is taken. Remember, the voice is the most important part of the video, so don’t let anything interfere with getting a clear audio capture.
        We will give more tips on child safety in future articles, but this information should give all parents a starting point.
This article is a public service from the Crime Prevention Division of the Lake Township Police Department. Township residents may obtain further information on crime prevention and public safety topics by contacting Ron Craig, crime prevention specialist/community policing officer, at 419-481-6354.


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