No one wants to think their child could be the victim of a crime. Unfortunately, criminals are prone to targeting vulnerable people and your child may fall into this group. Just recently, a 16 year-old boy was robbed at gunpoint in Huntsville, AL. Thankfully, the boy wasn’t hurt, but it was likely a traumatic experience for him and his parents.
The National Crime Prevention Council (NCPA), famous for McGruff the Crime Dog, recommends teaching children about stranger dangers and home and neighborhood safety to help “take a bite out of crime.” By teaching children how to be safe, both inside and outside the home, parents can rest easy knowing their children are able to recognize dangerous people and situations.
Robbed at Gunpoint while Pumping Gas
Danger may be lurking around every corner, even at a gas station. The young man was pumping gas at Huntsville’s own Wavaho Station when a black minivan pulled up. An unidentified criminal exited the van and threatened the 16 year-old with a gun, demanding the victim’s wallet and cell phone.
The young man could have attempted to fight or argue in order to save his possessions, but someone had already taught him that his life is more valuable than things. The victim relinquished his property to the criminal, who then fled in the minivan. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been any arrests made, but police are working to solve the case.
Safety Tip #1: Set Limits on Where Your Children Can Go
“There are some places in town you just don’t stop…that’s one,” wrote one commenter, after The Huntsville Times broke the story of the robbery.
Although no one is to blame for this crime except the robber, parents are encouraged to learn from this circumstance. It’s important to familiarize yourself with “bad areas” and encourage your children to avoid them.
Safety Tip #2: Help Children Memorize Important Phone Numbers
If something happens to your child’s cell phone, will he know how to reach you? Cell phones make it so easy to store phone numbers that children have stopped memorizing the important ones. Make sure your child knows important emergency phone numbers by heart. That way, if anything ever happens to his cell phone, he can still reach you.
Safety Tip #3: Secure Your Home
ADT reports that Huntsville, AL residents have a 1 in 120 chance of becoming the victim of a crime. On average, the city sees 9,950 property violations a year. Could you imagine if your child was the only one at home when an attacker decided to break in? Fortunately, modern technology has made it so that the home security systems Huntsville AL has to offer will notify authorities automatically should a break-in occur.
Home security systems have some other benefits, including:
- Prevention – when a would-be intruder sees flags for a security system, he’ll likely rethink his decision to rob your home
- Discounts – some homeowners insurance companies offer discounts to homeowners with security systems
Safety Tip #4: Use the Buddy System
Your children are safer when they travel in groups and with friends. Encourage your children to always drive around with friends because there is increased safety in numbers.
Safety Tip #5: Teach Children to Be Wary of Dangerous Situations
The NCPA recommends teaching children from a very young age to recognize potentially dangerous situations. The NCPA reports that gas station thefts are on the rise, likely because attackers are able to completely surprise their victims at the pump. If you want to learn more about how gas station crime can be prevented, check out the NCPA article, Gas Station Theft Prevention.
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