In light of five recent child luring attempts in and around Bergen County, the Mahwah Police have increased the number of patrol units stationed near township schools and athletic fields, Chief Jim Batelli said Wednesday. There have not been any child luring attempts in Mahwah, he said.
According to Batelli, a notice from the Mahwah Police Department was sent home with Mahwah students alerting parents and coaches of the recent incidents, and providing safety tips.
“The Chief had sent me a memo relative to the luring incidents and we decided to share the information in his memo with the community,” Dr. Karen Lake, interim Superintendent, said.
The closest luring incident happened last week in Ridgewood. According to a Ridgewood Patch report, “a 13-year-old George Washington Middle School student . The girl rebuffed their offer. The driver then pulled a U-turn on Lincoln Avenue and again approached the victim. She ran home without incident.”
Police have identified four other luring attempts in the past two weeks – in Hawthorne, Maywood, Oradell and Hackensack – that they believe are unrelated to one another.
According to RiverDell Patch, a seven year old was approached by a man outside her home last week. “According to police, the child was playing outside with a younger brother when an older white male with grey, balding hair, wearing a button-down shirt and black pants exited a small grey car and approached the two siblings. Both children ran inside their home and informed a parent, but the unknown man was gone by time their mother returned outside,” the report said.
Police said the recent luring attempts present an opportunity for parents to discuss safety tips with their kids.
The Mahwah PD recommended the following tips when talking with kids about child lurers:
- Predatory lures that are commonly used include asking for help, a lost pet, bribery, authority figures and faking an emergency
- Encourage children to travel in groups, be aware of their surroundings and alert
- If a child is approached by a stranger, he or she should never answer questions, engage in conversation, or get in the stranger’s car
- If approached, kids should remember three rules – drop anything they are carrying that might slow them down, make as much noise as possible, and run to a safe location
- Any luring attempts should be reported to police by dialing 911