The #Calgary Police Service is alerting the public to an incident that occurred on the weekend involving a suspicious person who had alleged inappropriate interactions with children on a playground.
On Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018, police received a report that at approximately 3 p.m., four children between the ages of nine and 11, were playing at a playground in the 13000 block of Parkside Drive S.E., when they were approached by a man. The children reported the man asked them for help in locating a piece of jewelry and offered them candy in exchange for their assistance. After the children declined the offer, the man allegedly made inappropriate comments and took inappropriate photos of the female children. The children left the playground and returned home to report the incident to their parents, who called police.
Police circulated the area but were unable to locate anyone matching the description provided. The man is described as approximately 5’8” tall, wearing a grey sweater with the word “HOCKEY” in white lettering, plaid shorts, a bald spot on his head and tattoos on his neck.
Anyone with information about this incident, or the identity of the suspect, is asked to call the police non-emergency number, 403-266-1234.
Calgary is a very safe place to live, but it’s still important to keep in mind the dangers that can exist in our communities, however rare they may be. Following are a number of tips for parents to use when speaking with their children:
• Teach your children who is a safe adult. Have a conversation with your child about who a stranger is, and how even people known to them could still be dangerous. In the past we’ve talked with children a lot about “stranger danger”, however unfortunately we now know that many child abductions are actually committed by people the child already knows. The important message to teach your children is to not go anywhere with anyone without first getting permission from you.
• Use the buddy system. When your children are out in the community, make sure they are always with at least one other person. Make sure you get to know your children’s friends and their parents, and have contact numbers in case of an emergency.
• Show your children safe places in the community. Point out safe places in your community that your children can go to for help if they need it. These places could include police, fire and EMS stations, schools, community centres, businesses, or even trusted neighbours. It’s important for children to have multiple places they can go to in an emergency.
• Know where your child is at all times. If your child is travelling anywhere by themselves, make sure you agree on a predetermined route before they go. If it’s somewhere they go often, they should always use the same route so you know where they’ll be. Also, always have your child text or call you when they arrive at their final destination or when they are on their way home.
• Staying safe online. If you’re children use social media platforms, make sure you know who they are communicating with. It’s important to teach them that people they meet online may not always be who they say they are. If they want to meet an online friend in person, you should be involved in making the plans and be present when the meeting happens.
• If an attempted abduction happens teach your children to actively resist, shout out loud and draw attention to themselves. Make sure they know where to go for help or how to call police.