Keeping our Kids (and Selves) Safe

As the Colorado community struggles to understand the evil behind the killing of 10-year old Jessica Ridgeway and fervently hope that police find the killer, it is also a time to think about how to talk to our kids about these kinds of situations.

If asked, most kids will quickly tell you that they know not to talk to strangers.  Someone offering candy or asking for help finding a puppy are the common ploys that we explain.  But we need to go further and let our kids know that a predator may not be that obvious.  In fact, a killer can be very clever and deceptive.  The tactic to get close could be just a matter of walking by and grabbing someone or simply asking what time it is.

When talking to my own kids, I have been very clear that they should not even let a stranger get close to them as they may try to use drugs or chemicals to stun them or knock them out.  I’ve also had to teach them that no matter what, they never, ever go with someone and that they must fight no matter what.  The majority of victims in these cases who are abducted from a crime scene are murdered.  Teaching kids to fight goes against how we normally teach them to respond, but this is one time where it is appropriate.  Even a child facing a larger adult can scratch, bite, kick, punch, scream and even claw or poke at the suspect’s eyes.  Anything goes to attract attention and to escape.

More news related to this murder has been coming out and now it appears that the same suspect may have tried to abduct adult women earlier in the year.  In two cases, the women were jogging in open space and the suspect came up behind them.  In one, he tried to put a rag that smelled of chemicals over her face, but she was able to fight him off.  In the other, the jogger’s screams may have scared him away for fear of attention.

As always, be aware of your surroundings, pay attention to anyone else near you.  Be mentally and physically ready to fight off attackers and do whatever it takes to escape.  Teach your kids to be alert and not to let anyone near them, no matter how nice or polite they may seem.  If anyone touches them, fight back in every way possible and escape.
For more information, read about the most dangerous time in a crime or school security tips.

Follow-up - Police arrested 17-year old Austin Reed Sigg for the murder of Jessica Ridgeway and for the attempted abduction of one of the joggers mentioned above.  This is great news, knowing that one less violent predator is on the loose.  However, these safety tips still apply and the topic should be discussed with your children, as there will always be another psychotic killer, unfortunately.

Eric Smith, CPP is the leading authority on organizational self-defense.  He has extensive experience in law enforcement as well as security management.  Eric is available for staff education and security awareness training as well as business coaching to help organizations provide safe workplaces.  To learn more email



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