Crime Stoppers, law enforcement teach stranger danger

By: Brian Shlonsky Email
By: Brian Shlonsky Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -- The abduction of 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway struck a cord with many parents, spreading fear throughout communities across the nation. But with that fear also comes a need to educate parents and kids about the dangers they face.

After Jessica's disappearance, many parents said enough is enough. So Thursday, Crime Stoppers of Mesa County got together with local law enforcement to teach a packed house of hundreds of parents and their kids how to fight back.

"I want the girls to learn if they are approached, how they should react, because I think that is something that they don't know," said Jo Knight, who brought her two daughters to the class.

Knight said Ridgeway’s kidnapping has the family on edge.

"That story terrified me. I don't know why I was so riveted to it, but I looked it up first thing every morning to see if they found the guy that did it," Knight said.

So the Knights and some of their Girl Scout troop came armed with questions.

"I kind of want to know if it gets passed that, like if I'm already kidnapped or something, what do I do there," Palisade High School Junior Kelsey Knight said. "That terrifies me, kidnapping and all of that is my biggest fear."

The class was ready with answers, teaching prevention and safety tips to help put parents' and their kids' minds at ease.

"How to react to different situations, not to get in the car with strangers and that type of thing. For the older kids, we teach them specifically if they are approached, if they are grabbed, they have to fight. You've got to fight your way out of that situation," community outreach deputy Chad Williams, who taught the class, said. "What we're trying to do is get the word out, what works, what doesn't work, so that we don't have an abduction that happens here."

Local law enforcement and Crime Stoppers also partnered up to release a new website that launched Thursday. Find a link to it below under Related Links.

On the website, there is a stranger danger book for parents to flip through with their young children, in hopes of keeping them safe.

If you weren't able to get out to the meeting Thursday, Deputy Williams' entire presentation will be posted on our web channel.

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