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Friday, November 16, 2007

Stranger Danger: Tricks and Lures of the Child Predator

The Dateline MSNBC show “To catch a predator” has brought national attention to the problem of child predators. They managed to increase the awareness and the extent of the problem. However, it leaves one nagging question, “How do I protect my children from child predators?”

To reduce the risk of child predators, the public needs to educate themselves about the tricks and lures that they use to entrap their prey. These predators look for three things to steal your children.

ACCESS - They must be able to talk to the child without the child’s parents around.


PRIVACY – A child predator looks for times when the child is alone.


ESCAPE – If the predator has access and privacy, he looks for the final step, which is a safe escape route.

A child predator employs many tricks and lures to steal away your child. The following are a few examples of the most common.

The Gift-Giver Lure

This lure involves the predator offering gifts to your child. The gift can range from cool video games to money. For example, the abductor looks for a lone child in a store and attempts to offer them a free video game, but the game in his car outside the store.

Teach your child to never accept gifts from strangers and tell them that they need to ask for the parent’s permission.

The Helpless Lure

This lure preys on the child’s good nature to help. The predator appears helpless with some form of injury like arm cast or crutches. The abductor asks for the child’s help in carry something for them or holding a door.

Another version of helpless entails a lost item or pet. For example, the predator needs help finding a cat or a lost bike. They ask the child to hop in their car and assist them.

Bottom line, it’s inappropriate for adults to ask children to help them.

The Messenger Lure

The messenger brings bad news about a parent and tells you to come with him right away. Alternatively, He tells you that your mom asked him to pick you up. For example, “Your dad is in the hospital. Your mom sent me to pick you up and take you there right away!”

All families should have a family password that only you and your parent’s know for this type of situation. Ask him for the family password and refuse to go if he does not know it.

By arming yourself with knowledge about the typical lures, parents can teach their children the appropriate way to handle abduction situations. Awareness is the key to our children’s safety.

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