Warning on kidnappings

Philip Bam, Public relations officer, Grassy Park Community Police Forum

A spate of reports has been flowing in about children being kidnapped, snatched or lured by strangers on the pretext that their parents had sent them to either fetch them or to fetch something at the family home.

Most times the stranger in a car will approach the child, saying that the parent had given them a message.

Once the child is lured to the vehicle, more information is gathered from the unsuspecting child and ultimately access to the house is gained and goods stolen.

It has also come to the notice of the Grassy Park police that reports are posted on social media about kidnappings which cannot be verified, causing panic in the community.

The Grassy Park Community Police Forum, notwithstanding the untrue social media postings, wishes to advise the community to take care that children are protected and alert to possibilities of approaches by strangers.

We urge parents to prepare their children. Children should be given a secret password and, when approached by any stranger, should ask for the password. If the password is not given, the child must run away from the stranger to a safe place. Children must also be taught not to share this password even with their closest friends.

We strongly encourage all parents to follow this safety guide.

Danger also lurks when children walk to school, especially now in winter when it is most- ly dark in the morn- ings.

The Grassy Park CPF and the Grassy Park SAPS wish to encourage the “walking bus” where groups of parents walk with children to school. Residents should also take up positions watching the street where children walk to school and be ready to alert the police or neighbourhood watch if any suspicious persons are observed in the street.

We say safety of our children is the concern of all responsible citizens in the community. A community that stands together can overcome and protect their children together.