Tips to Avoid Abduction
CNN and other news sources have focused on a number of cases involving young
girls missing and found dead. These widely publicized incidents have placed new
emphasis on child safety.
Recent cases underscore the need for parents to teach children how to avoid
being seized, and to learn escape methods if they are, said Bob Stuber, a former
police officer and founder of the Texas-based Escape School, which runs
educational programs across the United States.
Stuber says that even very young children might learn to resist and escape an
The suspect in the Samantha Runnion case reportedly asked the victim and a
friend to help locate a puppy. Such a tactic is common. Young children are
especially vulnerable to requests for help, because they are trusting and seek
"They're very, very trusting," Stuber said. "And this is something that parents
really have to get down on and start driving that message home, is that you
don't walk away with anybody. If they need help, they will get it from another
Stuber suggests various techniques to avoid being in the car of a stranger. "All
the way along in a crime like this, there's these little windows of
opportunity," he said. "And if the child knows what to watch for, it really only
takes about two of these choices to get them out of danger."
Among the techniques children can use to prevent being inside a car, Stuber
Velcro technique: Children cannot only yell out for help, they can grab hold of
an adult for help. This involves the adult in the situation in a manner that
Windmill technique: If somebody is bigger and stronger than the child, the child
rotates his or her arm forward in a big circle, preventing the would-be attacker
from grabbing hold.
Bicycle Hug: If a would-be abductor attempts to grab a child off a bike, the
child can "hug" the bicycle, making abduction difficult, if not impossible.
Techniques for a child inside an abductor's car are also simple:
* The first thing Stuber tells a child is to open the door and get out. Children
need to make a lot of noise at the very beginning of this whole process, Stuber
*If it's a four-door car, the child can jump into the back seat and go out the
back door really quickly.
Stuber said in these types of crimes, the child is not going to get hurt at this
point. "He [the abductor] wants to get out somewhere by himself. He may threaten
the child, but he's not going to hurt the child right there. That's not what
this is about. That takes place later."
*Another technique for a child inside the car is to place an object in the
ignition cylinder, where the key goes in. It can be a stick. It can be a button
off their clothing. Even bubble gum works. Once they do that, they can't get the
key back in.
"If you can't get the key in to start the car, this isn't going to go any
further, and that's the key to the whole thing, stopping it," says Stuber. If
the car can be stopped or the potential crime can be stopped in the
neighborhood, then the crime is going to come to an end.
Stuber advises children placed in a trunk to disconnect the taillights by
finding a panel in the back corner of just about every car. "Anybody can pull
that panel off. Inside are the wires. If you pull those wires, you disconnect
the brake and taillights. Now you have increased the odds 50 percent that the
police will pull the car over because it has no brake or tail lights; then they
will hear you inside."
Simple actions such as blowing a whistle are among
the strongest deterrents, Stuber said. "It's all about common sense," he said.
"It's all about taking advantage of little opportunities as they present
themselves. And it isn't very hard for a child to do."