I recently read an article about a teenage girl who was kidnapped and held captive for 30 days. Fortunately, the young woman escaped captivity and is now reunited with her family.
As a mother of two girls, the story moved me to the core. It infuriated me and it scared me. To the point that I not only want to help prevent something so tragic from happening to my own children, but to other children as well.
Kidnappers drive vans because it makes it easy to grab someone and throw them inside. Also, many contractors use white vans to make their logo stand out and to transport their equipment. Therefore, there are a large number of white vans that make it difficult to identify a potential danger and make it difficult for police to track down.
Last week my daughter was walking to school alone. Usually she runs into a friend on the corner, so she was only walking a block alone. In the mornings her sister has no morning activity, they walk together.
On this particular morning, just a few minutes after he left, he walked back through the door. So I asked him, “What did you forget?”
She didn’t forget anything that day. As I was walking, a white van was driving down the street. He slowed down as he passed her. Feeling a little scared, she turned around and headed home. Then the van left.
Most likely it was just a contractor looking up house numbers trying to find a job address. But you never know.
I cringe every time I get an Amber Alert or learn that a new sex offender has moved into the neighborhood. So I was glad that he was coming home. Another scenario is too excruciating to even imagine.
They say there is safety in numbers. I am thankful that he has a friend to walk with and I highly encourage him. Whenever possible, you should have your child walk with a friend. Regardless of whether it is midnight or noon.
Another way to keep your children safe is to provide them with a cell phone. Not only does it give you peace of mind, it is a traceable way of knowing your child’s whereabouts. Have your kids text you when they get out of school or when they get home. This way you will know that they are safe.
Discuss the possible dangers with your child. If I hadn’t told my daughter about the dangers of the dreaded white truck, she could have kept walking. I would rather have my son a little scared and cautious. But most importantly: sure. Wouldn’t you?