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Crime Tracker: Keeping your child safe from abduction

It can happen at the bus stop, on the playground - even at your local store.
Neighborhood Crime Tracker: Fighting back
Neighborhood Crime Tracker: Fighting back
It can happen at the bus stop, on the playground - even at your local store.

Surveillance cameras captured the frightening attempt by a recently released inmate to abduct a seven-year-old girl at a Wal-Mart in Georgia.

Out of nowhere he picks her up from behind and tries to bolt, but the little girl fights back - doing just enough to escape.

Other kids aren't as fortunate. And it only takes a matter of seconds for them to vanish from your sight.

"There's always predators out there looking," Lt. Hastings of the Little Rock Police Department said.

The bait they use to try and lure their victims in can vary.

"They can use a wide range of things, from puppies, to candy, to stuffed animals," Lt. Hastings said.

Some are more creative, daring, and bold in their approach. Just ask Randy Tomboli.

Last year his two sons were getting on the school bus in Cabot when a man pulled up and told school officials he was there to pick them up, mentioning the boys by name.

The teacher told the man to check into the office – and he never did.

"She saved my kids from I don't what could have happened," Tomboli said. "Thank goodness they followed protocol."

Between 100 and 300 children are abducted every year by a stranger.
Arkansas certainly has its share - and many remain unsolved.

Carroll Robinson is the director for the Missing Children's Program at the Attorney General's Office.

Her job is to educate as many as possible about child abduction prevention.

"We do hundreds of presentations on a weekly basis,” Robinson said. “We're out three or four times a week."

So what do they teach kids?

First - the importance of safe places and safe helpers. Simply put, these are homes, businesses and or other homes in their neighborhood where kids know they can go to to get help.

Second - telling kids to avoid deserted and isolated areas.

Third - if separated from a parent in a store or mall, teach kids to go straight to the nearest cashier or better yet - another mom with kids.

"And this might be the most important lesson of all - teaching your kids what to say if they are grabbed from behind,” Robinson said.

“A loud scream may not get a person's attention. But teaching your kids to yell things like “Help, this is not my dad!” greatly improves the chances of someone responding immediately."

"Family safety is something that just needs to be reinforced with kids.”
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