Tuesday, May 21, 2013

I Found My Child’s Abductor, Now What Do I Do?

You bought a GPS or Child Guard Alert. It goes off and you know where the child abductor is. Now what action do you take?

There are many child alert systems on the market today. There are two basic types; the child tracker or GPS and the proximity alert such as the Child Guard Panda. A GPS Tracker can be very sophisticated or simple and can be tracked by your smart phone, on your computer or by the police. A proximity alert is very simple and inexpensive. Basically with a unit on the child and one on the parent, if the child strays too far, an alarm is set off.

A Mini Child Tracker GPS can be carried by the child in their bag, pocket or strapped to their leg. If your child does not show up at an event, school or home on time, you can use the software that comes with the tracker to locate your child. If it is obvious the child has just gone to a neighbor’s house, store or playground, you can go and get your child. However if the child is in a place that you do not recognize and you feel that your child might be in danger, CALL THE POLICE IMMEDIATELY! Do not try to be a detective and do not try to be a hero. Let the professionals retrieve your child.

There is a misconception that the police will not intact until the child is missing for 24 hours. This is entirely false. Missing or abducted children are handled both by the local authorities and the FBI jointly. The FBI can start immediately recovering a child under the age of 18 and the child does not have to cross a state line for the FBI to get involved.

First call the authorities and calmly tell them what you know. Plan to meet them at your house or the police station and explain why you think you child is abducted, where you know they were last seen, and how you have located them. Give them all the tools you have to locate your child. Do not wait for a call from the abductor or delay contacting the authorities. Time is your friend and the abductor’s enemy. Some versions of the Mini Child Tracker GPS have an alarm button the child can push and some can actually monitor conversations near your child. All these things can help to positively identify the abduction and location.

A proximity alert is a pin or wrist-ban worn by the child and a receiver carried by the adult. These are very helpful in large crowds and stores. The parent sets the acceptable distance for the alarm to go off. This proximity alert does not replace good parenting, as you should always try to keep your eyes on your child, but we all can get distracted for a moment and that is all it takes. There are predators out there just looking for a window of opportunity. When the child strays too far, an alert starts beeping on the adult’s receiver. Immediately the parent should start looking for the child. Be vocal, call out the child’s name.

If you don’t see the child, go to the front doors of the store or entrance to the event, and let security or someone in charge know what has happened so they can lock down the area. Most likely you will set the alarm to go off within 10 to 15 feet so you can immediately spot your child. If the child is just wandering then retrieve your child and explain to them that they can’t wander off on their own. If you see someone trying to abduct your child, a loud voice commanding them to let go and letting everyone around you know this person is abducting your child will usually make them stop and run away. Again do not try to be a hero, these abductors are desperate people and may not act rationally.

If you find yourself approaching someone taking your child you should be dialing 911 already. Put the phone in your pocket, so the 911 operator can hear all that is going on. Also you should have on your person a container of Mace or Pepper Spray to disable the abductor. A stun gun can also be effective in this case. Do not worry about the defense spray hitting other people or even your child, as it is not lethal or will not cause permanent damage. Just make sure you spray the abductor in the face and eyes. The Stun gun is also non-lethal, and the higher the voltage, the more clothing it will penetrate. Retrieve your child and go to the police, do not try to take the abductor hostage as that is not your job.

This writer does not encourage the carrying or use of a firearm, unless you are a trained law or security officer. Other people including your child can be hit by stray bullets. These devices I mentioned also work well for senior citizens or mentally challenged individuals.   

Doug Harper is the owner of SharperSafety.com.

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