I don’t want to be an alarmist. But you may have noticed a lot of coverage lately of strangers approaching children (including a suspicious approach in town and even alleged abduction attempts in towns like Fall River.)
The latest local news comes from Hopkinton Youth Soccer. They report a stranger approaching a child by the port-a-potties at the Fruit Street Athletic complex.
It’s possible the man was simply looking for directions. But adults should know better than to approach children for help.
[Update (5/7/15 2:10 pm): The reader who shared the original news pointed out that there have been several approaches by a man matching the same description – an elderly man in grey sedan – reported over past weeks. See story here.]
Predators often rely on the helpful/compliant nature of children. It’s a good time to check in with our kids and make sure they remember that. If you haven’t had that conversation with your kids lately, this is a reminder.
The alert that Hopkinton Soccer shared with parents in their program also includes safety tips:
As some of you may have heard, there was an incident at the Fruit St Athletic Complex earlier this evening. A young player was over at the Port-a-Potties when an elderly man in a grey sedan approached the player and asked for directions. The child responded perfectly and ran away and alerted an adult. The police were called and went over to the fields. There have been similar situations in neighboring towns, so the police asked us to send a note out to our families to remind them of general safety procedures:
When dropping your child off for a game/practice, (or when reffing a game) please do not leave your child without an adult present.
- Our coaches know not to leave before all players have been picked up, but please be respectful of their time and arrive a few minutes before the end of practice so there is no risk of a child being left alone.
- Be sure to discuss with your kids how to react in these kinds of situations. Have them use the bathroom before they head over to the fields, and if they need to use the facilities during a practice have them utilize the “buddy system”
- If you are around if a similar situation occurs, Call 911 immediately, try to get a photo of the person/vehicle/license plate.
- There may be situations when kids have a layover between a skills/session and a team practice. Encourage kids to stay together, and near other teams who may be practicing. Perhaps adults can rotate through and watch over the group on different weeks.
Could the Southborough sports organizations issue an alert to local families like Hopkinton did? Would it be possible to have a police officer at Finn Fields? It is very hard to keep an eye on children there with so many fields in different directions, playground, snack shack, etc. Thanks!
I have no control of that – but want to share info released by Hopkinton Wicked Local: http://hopkinton.wickedlocal.com/article/20150507/NEWS/150507203
“The man is described as a white, in his 50s with a thin build, grey hair and wearing sunglasses.” The grey sedan may have been a Honda Accord – but they aren’t sure.
It is doubtful that the town will incur the cost of watching children as the parents should be able to handle that. If the sports organization wants to pay for a detail officer that is a different story but with everything else that is currently going on (i.e. construction) good luck finding one. I think the current resources are probably spread pretty thin. This is a good wake up call for parents to be diligent about knowing where your children are at all times. The is your JOB. Keep your kids with you or within sight at all times.
I received a notice from Southborough Little League. They sent it out the alert at 3pm on May 7.