Friday, March 18, 2011

Attempted Child Abduction and Safety Tips - Community Alert

On March 18, 2011, at approximately 7:00 a.m., a 12-year old male victim was walking to his bus stop when he approached Cockerille Avenue and Kansas Avenue. A Hispanic-looking male stopped near the victim, exited his vehicle and chased the victim at a full sprint in an attempt to grab him. The victim fled and was pursued by the suspect briefly. The victim fled to his residence and the suspect was seen casually returning to his vehicle and fleeing the area from Circle Avenue, making a right on to Kansas Avenue. The suspect is described as a tan-skinned Hispanic-looking male, approximately 240-250 lbs., approximately 5’8, clean-shaven, short black hair, round fat-face with pimples, last seen wearing a red baseball cap, solid navy blue dress shirt with collar, the shirt was outside the pants, pressed. His pants were baggy, dark blue jeans, wrinkled. His belly was big overall, but did not hang over his pants. He was last seen driving a black, 2-door Toyota Echo with tinted rear windows. There was a scratch on the bumper and the vehicle was described as “quiet sounding.” The vehicle was equipped with factory wheels.

A look-out has been given to all surrounding jurisdictions. Marked and unmarked police vehicles have been increased in and around the schools and area. The Principal at Takoma Park Middle School was notified and a letter is being sent home.

Parents and Children – Safety Tips*:

Children should travel with a friend, or better yet, a group of friends when riding a bike or walking to or from school or other destinations.

If someone follows you on foot, get away as quickly as you can. Go to someone's house you know, or run to other people, or just run away.

If someone is following you in a car, turn around and go in the opposite direction or take a path where a car would not go.

Parents should not become lax about kids going to a friend's home in a neighborhood--even if it is only a few doors away. Snatchings can happen in an instant; even under a parent's watchful eye. The key is to keep your eye on a youngster. Older youth should be instructed to call when they arrive at a friend's home for peace of mind and as a good safety tip practice.

If at all possible, an adult should greet youngsters as they get off a school bus, and not have them walk home alone.

Adults should understand that boys are at just as greatest of risk as girls. It is a common safety tip misconception that child molesters or perpetrators are typically men and seek only girls. Molesters come in all ages and both genders, and their victims can be of either sex.

Parents should begin reinforcing these safety tips as soon as a kid is old enough to understand, and above all, ensure that their child feels comfortable enough in discussing these issues, their concerns or fears, or any potentially inappropriate events that have possibly transpired. Awareness of these safety tips can help kids be less susceptible to any stranger dangers.

You can now use your cell phone to send a tip to the Takoma Park Police Department and remain 100% anonymous.

* Text to 847411

* Type TPPDTIP at the beginning of your message.

* Type your message including as much detail as possible to ensure that your tip is thoroughly investigated.

* Send your tip, knowing that you are helping to reduce crime in your community while remaining 100% anonymous.

Your tip is important and CAN make a difference!

If you see a crime in progress and need to contact the Takoma Park Police, please call 301-270-1100. If you need to report an emergency that involves the need for fire or rescue services, you must call 9-1-1.

*National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.