This morning, at approximately 7:09 AM, Champaign Police received a report of an attempted child abduction in the 1200 Block of W. Harrington Drive, near Morrissey Park in Champaign. A 13-year-old male juvenile reported that a vehicle pulled up to him as he walked to his bus stop, demanding that he get into the vehicle while implying, but not revealing a gun.
The student described the driver as a White male, approximately 40 years old with white facial hair, driving a red four-door Dodge pick-up truck.
Police are actively investigating this incident and ask that anyone who was in the Morrissey Park area around the time of the incident/and anyone with information to please contact the Champaign Police Investigations Division by calling 217-351-4545.
Directly following the report, Champaign Police provided multiple patrol officers to canvass the reported location and surrounding areas of the incident. As well, additional patrol staff is being made available to area schools during morning arrival and afternoon dismissal times.
Parents and care providers are encouraged to talk with youth about being aware of their surroundings and how to respond during potentially dangerous situations. Partner Champaign Unit 4 Schools provides the following tips for parents and students to review and discuss:
If a child is approached by a stranger:
- Check with an adult prior to going anywhere with anyone, especially someone you do not know. Do not walk with or accept a ride with a stranger, no matter what they offer you.
- Trust your instincts. It is ok to say no, even to an adult. If a stranger approaches, you do not have to talk to him/her. If something feels wrong or unsafe, it probably is.
- Run. If a stranger tries to get you into a car, run, kick, yell, or scream to get the attention of others. Most adults will stop for a child in trouble.
- Remember information about the vehicle (license plate number, color, bumper stickers, etc.) and report this information right away.
- Tell a trusted adult!
Tips for Parents:
- Avoid displaying the child’s name on clothes or other personal items.
- Create a unique family “code word” that only you and your child know.
- Show children how to use a phone and remind them that 911 calls are free. 911 can be dialed from any cell phone or pay phone.
- Teach children to avoid walking outdoors with headphones, which can prevent them from hearing someone coming up behind them.
- Remind children not to assist strangers with providing directions, finding lost pets, or other requests.
- Do not wait to call police.
For more safety tip information, visit www.safekids.org.