Law Enforcement, Child Experts Offer Abduction Prevention Tips

Published 02/19 2014 10:45PM

Updated 02/20 2014 09:19AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Reports of missing children occur quite often.

"A stranger that abducts the child is going to hurt the child, more cases than not," said Joyce Estes, Children's Advocacy Center.

Less than months into 2014, and already, the Missouri State Highway Patrol said more than 500 kids have been reported missing in the state.

Local law officials, and child experts, say parents can do a lot to decrease those numbers.

"If an adult asks you, come over here, I'm lost. I need directions. Kids don't need to help the adults. Adults need to help the adults," said Estes.

Estes said children should fight back if they get abducted.

"Teach your child to scream, to yell, to kick, to fight, to run, to do anything they can," Estes said.

Deputy Sarah Hardin with the Buchanan County Sheriff's Department agreed.

"Scream things like I need help, this isn't my mom, this isn't my dad. And scream thing that are going to draw attention to them instead of no, no, no," said deputy Hardin.

Both also suggested using a password.

"If they tell their child, if so and so comes to get you, they should know the password. So, never leave without a family, you know, with a non-family member who does not know the password," said Deputy Hardin.

Deputy Hardin and Estes said it's important to talk to children about strangers and what to do in that sort of situation.

They said fighting back, using passwords, observation and avoiding obvious situations are ways to keep children safe.

"Still can't expect the child to be totally responsible, but that's going to help them possibly, and attract attention," said Estes.

They also said to remember, if a child is walking home from school, or outside for a few minutes, make sure they are never alone.

"It's always safer in twos," said Estes.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol said 5,490 children were reported missing last year.

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