Recently there have been a string of suspicious incidents reported in the Northwest Iowa region involving alleged attempted abductions, or similar acts. These happenings have caused many residents, especially those with young children, to be extremely fearful.
Sioux County Sheriff Dan Altena released the following statement about such incidents:
“As sheriff, I want you to know that our law enforcement officers are doing everything possible to locate the person(s) involved in these incidents. We’ve received numerous reports of vehicles and persons fitting the description of the reported occurrences. We continue to welcome the public’s help and want you to know that every tip is checked out. We have also heightened patrol around our schools, parks and other areas of concern.
“We’ve been asked if putting the reports out to the public by using our real time notification system – Nixle, which also posts information to our Facebook and Twitter accounts, is generating more fear.
“We use the Nixle system to inform the public, as soon as possible, about public safety issues, Doing this helped us locate a missing five-year-old girl within minutes of the published information several years ago. Unfortunately some may become more fearful hearing about the reported incidents on Nixle and-or our Facebook and Twitter accounts.
“I want you to know that all information published by means of the Nixle program is evaluated immediately; a decision is then made on the value of disseminating it to our citizens. When we publish information on Nixle it’s because we believe it’s vital to the public’s safety and beneficial to law enforcement authorities,”said Altena in the press release.
Safety tips concerning strangers:
Don’t play in deserted areas, such as empty playgrounds, parks, construction sites or dumps.
Stay with your mom and dad in public places or use the buddy system. Play, walk, bike and skate with a friend.
If you are out somewhere with an adult and you lose them, don’t go looking for them. If you are in a store, go to the cashier or security guard and ask for help. If you can’t find a cashier or a security guard and you are in trouble, look for a women with small children for help.
Stay alert and trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, like you think someone is following you, you are probably right. Try to notice if an adult is hanging around your school playground, your park or yard, and then go to where you know you can find other people.
If you think someone is following you, cross the street and go into a store. Tell a police officer or mother with a child. Don’t try to hide, go to where you can find other people.
If someone tries to grab you, kick, punch and yell, ‘Mo. I don’t know you. You aren’t my mom or dad.”
If the person is in a car, stay as far away from the car as you can. Go into a store or turn around, and walk or run in the opposite direction the car is going.
Never, ever hitchhike or accept a ride from someone. Don’t go near a stranger’s car.
Never get into a car with someone you don’t know, for any reason. Sometimes people use tricks, like saying your mom is hurt, or they lost their dog or kitten, to try and get you to go with them. Do not go with them.”