Parents who have children in the Campbell-Kapolei Complex Area were sent letters Thursday alerting them to “stranger danger” incidents involving three elementary schools this week.
The elementary schools were Ewa Beach, Mauka Lani, and Keoneula.
According to the Department of Education, all three cases involved students walking to or from school. In all cases, officials say no students were injured and the incidents were reported to parents and/or school officials.
They reported being approached by a man in a black- or dark-colored truck who offered them a ride. In one case, a student reported being grabbed the man in an attempted abduction.
Luke Okihiro’s 8-year-old son, Cameron, was there.
As he spent the afternoon watching his son play soccer, Okihiro said he’s thankful Cameron is safe after running from a man who tried to lure him and his friends into a truck days earlier.
“Basically Cameron told me some guy in a black truck try to offer him candy and tell him to come into the truck, so he kind of knew what we taught him, and so he ran and went away with his cousins and his brother. They ran away from the truck and I believe he shouted stranger danger and warned others,” Okihiro said.
Cameron Okihiro says he and his friends were walking to school on Tuesday morning when two men in a black truck approached them.
“He said, ‘Do you want a ride?’ and then we all ran and he chased us,” the 8-year-old said. “After that, he grabbed the kid and he was chasing us, and the kid kicked the guy. There were two people in the car. Other guy went around and went to our parking lot and said, ‘Do you want some candy?'” Cameron Okihiro said.
The kids ran straight to the office at school and they reported it to police.
The Honolulu Police Department is investigating.
Meanwhile, school officials urge parents to talk to their children about “stranger danger” and highlight measures that students can take to stay safe.
After two other similar stranger danger incidents this week, the DOE says teachers will be introducing how to deal with strangers into school curriculums.
Ewa Beach parents, like Okihiro, are also keeping an extra eye out until someone is caught.
“Just as a community, you just have to watch out for suspicious activity and watch out for the kids,” he said.
According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, many abduction attempts happen when children are traveling to and from school, most times in the late afternoon. The suspect involved is usually driving a car.
Even if your child is walking with a buddy, they can be at risk, so it’s important for all kids to recognize suspicious behavior.
Abductors use different tactics when trying to lure in kids. They offer a ride, candy, or even money. They say they’re looking for a pet or want to show off a pet.
Simply asking questions can be a tactic to lure in kids.
If this ever happens to your child, teach them to say no, even if the person is asking for help.
They should stay well away from strangers’ cars.
Then there’s run, yell, tell.
Children being followed should run away. If the person is in a car, run in the opposite direction.
Yell, scream, whistle, do anything to draw attention to the situation.
Then head to a place where you know there is a trusted adult, like school, a store, fire station, or library, and tell that adult immediately about what happened.
Parents should point out safe places ahead of time and talk to kids about strangers they can trust, like store clerks, parents with children, even park workers.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children says by simply telling your kids to never talk to strangers, you’re eliminating a key source of help for them.Click here for more information.