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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : latest news : latest news May 26, 2016

3/30/2013 11:53:00 AM
Stranger Danger a serious concern
Tips on teaching about ‘stranger danger’
Cottonwood Police are reminding parents to speak with their children about the danger of talking to people they don't know. It's important our kids know what to do if they are ever contacted by a stranger in any situation, especially in the wake of a child approached by a suspicious character this past week.

Teach your children not to talk with people they don't know. They should walk in groups whenever possible.

Don't approach a motor vehicle for someone asking directions. It isn't usual for an adult to ask directions from kids.

If a stranger does approach your child, they need to remember what they look like so they can provide a description. If they were inside a vehicle, they should try to get write down the license plate or the color and how many doors it had. Was it a car, truck, van or SUV?

Teach your child how to use a telephone early and how to call the 911. It may help during a medical emergency or to stop a crime in progress. If your child is not at home and doesn't have a cell phone tell them to go to the nearest business and ask to use a phone there.

If your child tells you they were contacted by a person they don't know report it to the police immediately. The sooner we get there the sooner we can begin an investigation.

Don't assume it was nothing and discount what your child has to tell you. For additional help in teaching your child about safety and prevention visit the website for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at

On Monday, Cottonwood Police were alerted about a suspicious person near the 500 block of East Mingus Avenue. Police were told that on March 22, at about 3:30 p.m., an 11-year-old girl and her friends were walking home from Cottonwood Elementary School when they were approached by a man in a car. The man attempted to lure the girls into the car, claiming their parents had sent him to get them. The girls refused to go near man and fled the area.

One girl described the vehicle as grey with four doors. She said the driver was a heavy-set white man, in his late 30s to 40s, with brown hair and a mustache. There was a passenger in the back seat but the girl could not describe him.

Since the suspicious activity was reported, Cottonwood Police has patrolled all school zones heavily as well as parks and other areas where children are known to be. Detectives have interviewed the children and composed a sketch of the subject.

If anyone has information related to this investigation, please contact the Cottonwood Police Department.

We also ask that parents educate their children in safety and prevention. Teach them no to talk to strangers and if they are ever contacted by a stranger to report it immediately.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, April 1, 2013
Article comment by: KC's Family Tae Kwon Do

We regularly teach our Tae Kwon Do students about Stranger Danger and this situation in particular. I understand your concern for such a class without the time commitment of enrolling in a full program. We offer two free classes to anyone who wishes to try. So, give us a call and set up your child's free class, asking specifically for a day/time when we are doing Stranger Danger Self Defense. We will be happy to oblige. Keeping our community, and the children in it, safe are one of our highest priorities. (928) 634-5165

Posted: Sunday, March 31, 2013
Article comment by: Just An Idea

I would like to see classes offered where parents could sign up their children to learn what to do if they find themselves in this type of situation. Giving them practice in what to do to help escape someone could be the difference between life and death in some instances. Teach them what to do if someone has actually grabbed them. Not all kids want or have time for a full-fledged self defense class.

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