ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® and Honeywell (NYSE: HON) are calling on parents and educators to emphasize children's personal safety as they head back to school this fall.
Their recommendations are supported by a new analysis, released by NCMEC this week, of 10 years of data on attempted abductions of children and related crimes or suspicious incidents involving individuals that were unknown to the children. NCMEC found that 70 percent of these incidents occurred on school days and that school-age children were most likely to be on their way to or from school when the incidents occurred.
"We know these are often crimes of opportunity," said John F. Clark, NCMEC president and CEO. "These offenders take advantage of the moments when they have easiest access to children. That's why helping kids make safer and smarter decisions when faced with potential danger is so important. While we don't want parents or children to live in fear, we want them to take action to educate and prepare themselves."
The KidSmartz® program, developed by NCMEC in partnership with Honeywell, uses videos, music and classroom activities to teach personal safety children in grades K-5. The program aligns perfectly with the lessons learned in NCMEC's new analysis.
"Our analysis showed us that offenders were more likely to attempt verbal lures or manipulation with elementary age children, such as offering a ride, promising candy or demanding they get in the car," said Clark. "That's why the focus on empowerment and helping kids understand that being safe is more important than being polite."
KidSmartz focuses on keeping the lines of communication open between parents and children, helping children identify trusted adults and avoiding potentially dangerous situations while they learn about staying safer. The program, focuses on four basic safety rules:
- Check First
- Take a Friend
- Tell People "NO"
- Tell a Trusted Adult
"The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is uniquely positioned to provide insight on child safety, and Honeywell is proud of our long-term partnership to make children safer," said Mike Bennett, president, Honeywell Hometown Solutions, the company's corporate citizenship initiative. "The KidSmartz program is based on a real understanding of when, where and how children may be at risk, and we want all children nationwide to have access to this potentially life-saving information as they head back to school."
For more information about the findings from NCMEC's analysis including insight into the ages and genders of the victims, times and locations of the incidents and the methods used by offenders, visit NCMEC's virtual newsroom at www.missingkids.org/vnr.