This information is being provided to make the community aware of two recent reports in which Franklin Middle School students were approached by a suspicious person while traveling to school.
On April 19, 2018, at approximately 7:10 AM, a 13-year-old female student reported that as she was walking to her bus stop near the corner of Market and Bradley Ave., a male driver stopped to ask if she wanted a ride and then asked for her phone number.
This morning, at approximately 7:20 AM, a 14-year-old female student reported that as she was walking to school near Harris and Sherwood, a male driver stopped and motioned multiple times for her to come over to his vehicle.
In both incidents, the students quickly left the area and no further contact was made. The subject was described by both students as a Hispanic male in his mid-20’s, medium build, driving a small silver or grey 4-door vehicle.
Police are investigating these incidents and seeking potential surveillance footage in the area to help identify the subject. Additional police staff will be made available to area school zones during morning arrival and afternoon dismissal over the next several days.
Anyone with information related to these incidents is asked to contact the Champaign Police Investigations Division at: 217-351-4545. Anonymous tips may also be submitted to Crime Stoppers by phone at: (217) 373-8477 (TIPS); online at www.373tips.com; or the “P3 Tips” mobile app.
Parents and guardians are encouraged to talk with youth about being aware of their surroundings and how to respond during potentially dangerous situations. The below tips are provided for parents and students to review and discuss what to do if a stranger approaches.
Tips for Students:
• 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, get the attention of others by running, kicking, yelling, or screaming. 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.