Lightning strikes. It’s a phrase that Glasgow’s Police Chief Bruce Barstad used to explain the likelihood of a stranger abducting a child. An incident reported in last week’s law enforcement page is still under investigation of a possible stranger danger incident.
It is a good reminder that our children do need to be taught what to do in those incidents. The truth is that an average of 2,100 children goes missing each day. The bigger shocker in this story is that in a year’s study a total of 797,500 children were abducted, nearly 204,000 of those abductions occurred from family members. Around 60,000 of those were from non-family members.
The truth is that the statistics and the numbers show that the chances of someone the children do not know approaching them is low, as Barstad said, like lightning strikes. While the danger is very real, the chances are very low. Only 115 children in the study were part of a stereotypical kidnapping.
Imagine all those movies you’ve seen. The child is grabbed off the street and disappears into the night, or day. The children are transported more than 50 miles and the kidnapper demands a ransom, or perhaps they keep the child for their own purposes. In reality, it’s a very small chance or percentage to actually happen. They are widely reported because of their rare occurrence.
Barstad explained that Glasgow is lucky to have a few well-trained in the area on child abductions. He said that the parents are looked at first in all cases because the chances are that family members are the biggest suspect in such a case. Unfortunately, if a lightning strike does occur your best chances are only within the first three hours.
Perhaps the biggest dangers in our community toward children are sexual abuse. While it’s not reported in the paper on a weekly basis, it is occurring. Much of the time, such cases aren’t reported in the paper out of privacy and respect for the family and child enduring the investigation and dealing with the emotional and physical consequences of the horrible crime.
Many times the worst hurts can come from those closest to us. While we are close to the Bakken and our area is seeing sex trafficking on the rise, once again the reality that family, or close friends, are the main suspects in such a crime. Child pornography has also seen a rather large increase nationwide.
So what to do about all these dangers? The answer is always education. Talking to your children about the hard subjects, like why no one should touch their private parts, why they should say no to strangers, and what to do if something terrible happens.
Children may be resilient, but such crimes will leave long lasting effects. Explain to your kids why no matter how much they love their family, friends and teachers no one has the right to touch or hurt them in an unusual manner.