Teaching your children about stranger danger is of the essence for parents in the Lakeland Region after a possible child abduction attempt in Cold Lake.
According to Police, “On Sept. 7, the Cold Lake RCMP responded to a report of two men with dark complexions, in a black SUV, stopping where students were waiting for the bus.”
It was reported they were approaching teenage boys advising them their bus was canceled and then offering them a ride to school. This was not the case, no buses were canceled and any alternate transportation arrangements would not be made without parent and student knowledge, well in advance. The ride was not accepted and the students contacted their parents, who in turn contacted the school and Cold Lake RCMP.
Shawna Kutt is the mother of the boy who was approached. Kutt drove her son to school that morning and it wasn’t until she arrived at the school that she realized that the buses were running.
“I really want people to share this post and have serious conversations with their children,” Kutt told Lakeland Connect. “I have worked in the Social Work field and I know what can happen.”
Kutt says her son was approached on 16th Street in Cold Lake which is across from Circle K.
The Cold Lake RCMP would like to bring public awareness of this incident and offer some reminders when waiting for transportation or dealing with strangers:
- Be vigilant. Parents and children are encouraged to talk about personal safety.
- Line up in an orderly fashion for pre-planned transportation and wait with a parent, guardian, or older friend when possible.
- Set up talk to call apps, so you can call faster in an emergency.
- Walk briskly and look alert.
- Take the shortest and safest route.
- Have your parents know your route and keep them posted on where you are.
- Be aware of your environment.
- Keep one hand free when walking. If you are carrying books or bags, be prepared to drop them. If you sense danger, drop what you have so your hands will be free from large or heavier objects.
- Trust your instincts, if you feel you are being followed, tricked, or something is not right, get out of the situation and seek help immediately.
- Don’t be embarrassed to ‘make a scene if you feel you are in danger. At worst you could hurt someone’s feelings, but it could save your life.
- Stay more than a car’s length from strangers.
- If you are approached by a stranger, seek help immediately. Call for help.
- If someone offers you something and you don’t know them, say no.
- If someone tells you there is an emergency, call the police and stay away from the person.
- Don’t go anywhere or get in a vehicle with someone you don’t know.
“Our top priority is safety,” says Sergeant Kim Hillier, of the Cold Lake RCMP. “With the excitement of the back-to-school season upon us, we would like to ensure the children in our community are knowledgeable and safety-oriented, should they be offered transportation from strangers. Extra due diligence and planning ahead adds another safety element for those in our communities.”
Cold Lake RCMP encourages the public to report any criminal or suspicious activity to Cold Lake RCMP at 780-594-3302, or call your local police.
Lakeland Connect will be live at 4:00 p.m. today with Shawna Kutt and her son to discuss the importance of stranger danger.