The Carrollton Police Department would like to cover some basic strategies for parents to ensure the safety of their children, as well as adults. Even though we live and work in a small community, there are very real threats we must prepare for. While the threats may not reside in our community, our town is very accessible to predation via our highway system. We urge all citizens to constantly think about the possibilities, and remain vigilant to ensure everyone’s safety.
Families should talk with their children (and spouses) to formulate a plan that works for their unique family lifestyle. Talk with everyone in the family about possible dangers, and ensure everyone knows the family’s plans. Make an effort to review the plan at least once a month, and discuss any changes that need to be made.
Children especially should be taught to be wary of strangers. No adult should ever have a valid reason to stop a child and speak to them, ask directions, or ask them for help! Under no circumstances should a child (or adult) get into a vehicle with an unknown person. Consider the use of “family code words”, and ensure the children know them. They should NEVER go with anyone, stranger or familiar, unless that person can provide the code word you rehearse with them.
You should always travel with at least one other person, as there is safety in numbers. If there is a predator in the area, they will most likely look for an easy victim, one that is alone where there will be no witnesses. Most will look for opportunities to strike when they are the most vulnerable; traveling alone, in places hidden from public view, and with a quick route away from the area.
Teach your families to stay in the open, stay with other friends or family members, and stay on designated routes to and from home and their destinations. Do not take short cuts through heavily wooded, shaded, or confined areas. Teach them to recognize potential hazard areas and situations, and how to avoid them.
Know where your family members are at all times, as well as who they are with. Ensure they know their address and telephone numbers for their immediate families. If possible, give them a cell phone to use so they can contact you, and you may contact them.
Make sure they know the routes you have designated for them, and in the event they feel threatened or scared they should run straight to the closest destination of said route. Encourage them to make noise, scream, yell, or something to draw attention to themselves. Identify “safe spots” along the route and make sure they know their locations; these could include residences of family, close friends, even businesses.
Teach everyone in the family to notice small details. Know when something is different or out of place. Pay close attention to details, especially those that could assist law enforcement with identifying vehicles and people. If at all possible, get a license plate number of a vehicle if it is involved.
If you witness something that seems out of the ordinary or outright suspicious, alert the authorities and provide as much information as possible. What may seem like a small incident may actually save someone’s life. Police cannot patrol everywhere at all times. We rely on our citizens to be our eyes and ears, and point us in the right directions.
Our goal is to make the City of Carrollton and Carroll County a safe place for our families. If anyone would like to organize a community watch/safety program, ask advice or questions, or would like an officer to sit with their family during a discussion please do not hesitate to contact us. With everyone’s help and dedication, we can make our community an undesirable location for those who wish our families harm.