Recently, a man was taken into custody after attempting to lure a teenager girl into his vehicle on two separate occasions. The suspect, B. Fentner, is alleged to have attempted to lure a 15-year-old girl into his vehicle at the intersection of Esplanade and San Jacinto avenues. The first incident occurred on Monday, July 29th and the second on Tuesday, July 30th. He was taken into custody for the second time on the morning of Wednesday, July 31st, on suspicion of annoying or molesting a child.
Some people believe that younger children are at most risk of kidnapping – but that’s not always true. Teenagers (and teenage girls in particular) make up about 80% of child abductions. The reason for this is probably because smaller children, while technically easier to overpower or deceive, are often accompanied by adults, while young teens are not. They’re just beginning to desire a sense of independence and as a result, often prefer to go about their days without adult supervision.
It’s important to talk with children, when they’re young, entering their teens, and even when they’re college age, about the dangers they may face while out and about on their own. For younger kids, it’s up to parents to inform them of the dangers that exist and how best to react if they ever find themselves in a dangerous situation.
When it comes to older teens, the best place to start may be by asking questions to gauge their awareness. Once parents know how aware they are of their current situation, they can move forward in advising them.
The first thing teens should put into practice, if they aren’t already, is to keep in touch with family and friends. If kids are of college age, they may not need to be in constant contact with parents all the time, but they should be in contact with someone.
Keeping in contact with parents is most important during times and situations in which they may deviate from their normal routines. For example, if they’re going to take a weekend trip with friends, ask them to let you know where they’re going and when they expect to be back.
Another extremely important safety tip is to employ the buddy system (especially when it comes to girls).
Finally, prepare your teen or college-aged student to defend themselves if need be. Sometimes, something as simple as a whistle can defuse a dangerous situation by bringing attention that a would-be assailant or kidnapper wouldn’t want. For active individuals, such as joggers or runners, pepper spray can be extremely useful. It should be kept in hand to be prepared to use if accosted by a stranger.
Ultimately, the threat of kidnapping is a very real danger for kids of all ages. The best line of defense is to help educate them regarding which actions to take and which to avoid, at every stage of their life.