Nationwide thousands of children are victimized by crime each year. Locally and on campus children become victims of crime. By teaching children basic tools to avoid crime those numbers may be reduced. Here are some tips to teach your children.
For the parents
- Walk with your child the first few days of school and pick out the safest route.
- When possible, have your child walk to school with a friend or groups of other children.
- Always use crosswalks and obey the traffic lights when crossing the street.
- Do not teach your child to take shortcuts to school.
- Teach your child to watch his/her surroundings while walking to school or any other time he/she are out in public. If he/she thinks they are being followed they should go to a safe place (an open business, a friend’s home, a relative’s home, a police or fire station, etc.)
- Teach children if something does happen to yell as loud as possible “STOP IT! LEAVE ME, ALONE!” Instruct them to start kicking, biting, and hitting the person hurting them. The child should run away as soon as possible and continue yelling.
- Tell your child to never get close to a car with a stranger in it or talk to strangers on the street. He/she should never tell a stranger their name or address unless he/she needs help from them. Instruct him/her to have the stranger call mom or dad, a relative, the police, or fireman and to stay out where other people can see them when they need help.
- Remind children not to accept anything from a stranger.
- Do not allow your child to wear clothing with their name on the front where others can see it.
- Remind children to stay in well-lighted areas as much as possible after dark.
- Instruct your child to walk in the middle of the sidewalk when they are alone.
- Be sure your child knows what to do if someone in a car stops to ask a question and wants him/her to get close to the car. Instruct them to say, “I don’t know.” and keep walking.
- If your child feels something is wrong, instruct him/her to trust their instincts. He/she should go to the nearest safe place and tell a worker that they are scared and have them call their parents or the police.
- Do not allow your child to wear or take expensive jewelry or clothing to school.
- Do not allow your child to take more money than needed to school.
- Do not allow your child to put money in their book bag. Teach children to put their money in a pocket.
- Teach your child not stay alone in hallways between classes.
- Teach your child to tell a teacher or parent if they see a stranger around their school.
- Teach your chiled to ride their bicycle with a group of friends.
- Warn your child against riding in deserted areas.
- Don’t allow your child to ride their bicycles at night without a parent or adult.
- Practice how to handle scary situations. Make sure your child knows what to do if something wrong happens. Teach him/her to yell and scream while they are running to safety.
- Teach your child to lock their bicycle while they go into a store or home.
- Don’t allow your child to play alone on playgrounds. Make sure they understand that they must leave when the other children do.
- Teach your child not to play close to restrooms.
- Teach your child about the buddy system, if they need to go to the restroom, be sure they have someone go with them. Instruct him/her to let a parent or baby-sitter know before they go alone.
For the children
- Teach your child to always have their key ready before they get to the door if it is necessary to unlock an outside door when they get home.
- Teach your child what to do if a stranger is seen near their door or following them when you are not home. DO NOT GO TO YOUR HOME OR APARTMENT. Go to a relative or friends home, a known neighbor.
- Always lock the door behind you.
- Do not open a door for a stranger. Call the police (911) if a stranger tries to talk you into opening the door.
- If you are home alone keep the radio or television on.
- Never tell anyone you are home alone.
- ALWAYS WEAR YOUR HELMET!!!
- If you have to ride in the road ride on the right side as close to the curb as possible.
- Obey all traffic signs.
- Look both ways before you pullout onto the street.
- Use hand signals when you are stopping or making a turn.
- Always let people walking go first.
- Before you ride your bike, check your brakes, tire pressure, and make sure your handlebars are not loose.
- If you have to ride at night always wear something reflective.
- If you ride at night Florida Law requires you to have a front light and rear light.
- If someone calls you and says bad things over the phone hang up. Do not talk to them.
- If your parents are not home and someone calls who you don’t know, never tell them you are alone.
- If your parents are not home and someone calls who you don’t know, don’t tell them your phone number or where you live.
- Always let your parents talk to salesmen or repairmen over the phone. Don’t give them any information.
- Always tell your parents when someone calls.
- If someone scares you on the phone and your parents are not home, call the police.
For further information on this or others safety topics please contact the University of Florida Police Department’s Community Services Division at (352) 392-1409