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Kids fight back: Why their resistance helps prevent crime

Saturday - 9/15/2012, 11:14am  ET

Kathy Stewart, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - A screaming, kicking child may have an advantage when it comes to abduction and crime involving children, and two recent incidents in the D.C. area have parents talking to their kids about what to do in such a situation.

The Georgetown Patch reports a man exposed himself to a child near an elementary school on Glover Park on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, a Bethesda parent says two men in a white van followed her daughter after the school bus dropped the child off.

The girl immediately took action. She grabbed her cell phone, called 911, and the van drove off.

When a child feels threatened, it's not the time to be passive or polite, says Nancy McBride with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

"The only thing kids need to know is to get out of the situation as quickly as they can," McBride says. "[That means] the kids walk or run. They kick. They scream. They resist. They do whatever they have to do to get away from the person."

Abductions happen more often when a child is going to or from school, says McBride. She advocates practice, when parents can actually walk through safety skills with their kids.

"I just think it's important if your child is walking to and from school that you walk the route with them," McBride says. "You point out some landmarks they can go to. They can be taught to do this in a very positive way so it becomes a skill that they can use when they need it."

In the majority of attempted abductions, the suspect was driving a car, van or truck. Around 35 percent of attempted abductions happened between 2 and 7 p.m., according to data collected by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children between February 2005 and January 2012.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)