Mounties in Cold Lake are sending out a warning after receiving a report of a pair of men trying to pick up students who were on their way to school.
The RCMP says on Tuesday morning they were tipped off that “two men with dark complexions, in a black SUV” stopped where students were waiting for a school bus. They then reportedly told a few boys that their bus was canceled and offered them a ride to school.
Mounties say no buses were canceled that day and when they are, the school board will make an announcement well in advance. In this case, the youth did not accept the ride and instead told their parents, who contacted the RCMP.
Mounties are offering up tips on situations like this, including:
· Be vigilant. Parents and children are encouraged to talk about personal safety.
· Line up in an orderly fashion for pre-planned transportation and wait with a parent, guardian, or older friend when possible.
· Set up talk to call apps, so you can call faster in an emergency.
· Walk briskly and look alert.
· Take the shortest and safest route.
· Have your parents know your route and keep them posted on where you are.
· Be aware of your environment.
· Keep one hand free when walking. If you are carrying books or bags, be prepared to drop them. If you sense danger, drop what you have so your hands will be free from large or heavier objects.
· Trust your instincts, if you feel you are being followed, tricked, or something is not right, get out of the situation and seek help immediately.
· Don’t be embarrassed to ‘make a scene’ if you feel you are in danger. At worst you could hurt someone’s feelings, but it could save your life.
· Stay more than a car’s length from strangers.
· If you are approached by a stranger, seek help immediately. Call for help.
· If someone offers you something and you don’t know them, say no.
· If someone tells you there is an emergency, call the police and stay away from the person.
· Don’t go anywhere or get in a vehicle with someone you don’t know.
“Our top priority is safety.” says Sergeant Kim Hillier, of the Cold Lake RCMP. “With the excitement of the back-to-school season upon us, we would like to ensure the children in our community are knowledgeable and safety oriented, should they be offered transportation from strangers. Extra due diligence and planning ahead adds another safety element for those in our communities.”
The RCMP say any criminal behaviour should be reported to local police or Crime Stoppers.