Calgary police are on the lookout after reports that children in a Parkland playground in the city’s southeast were approached by an unknown man.
Police received a report that at around 3 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 28, four children aged between nine and 11 were approached by a man asking them to help find a piece of jewelry, offering candy in return. Police said in a statement the children declined the offer and the man allegedly made “inappropriate comments” and took “inappropriate photos” of the female children.
The children left the playground, returning home to tell their parents, who then called police, authorities said.
Officers searched the area but were unable to find anyone matching the description provided, police said.
Police describe the man as being roughly five feet, eight inches tall and wearing a grey sweater with “HOCKEY” in white lettering and plaid shorts. They said he had tattoos on his neck and a bald spot on his head.
Anyone with information about the incident or the suspect should call 403-266-1234.
Emphasizing the city as “a very safe place to live,” Calgary police shared a number of tips for parents when speaking with their children:
- Teach your children who is a safe adult. Have a conversation about who a stranger is and how even people they know could still be dangerous. We now know that many child abductions are committed by people the child already knows. The important message to teach children is to not go anywhere with anyone without first getting permission from you.
- Use the buddy system. When your children are out in the community, make sure they are always with at least one other person. Make sure you get to know your children’s friends and their parents, and have contact numbers in case of an emergency.
- Show your children safe places in the community. Point out multiple safe places in your community that your children can go to for help if they need it. These places could include police, fire and EMS stations, schools, community centres, businesses or even trusted neighbours.
- Know where your child is at all times. If your child is travelling anywhere by themselves, make sure you agree on a predetermined route before they go. If it’s somewhere they go often, they should always use the same route so you know where they’ll be. Always have your child text or call you when they arrive at their final destination or when they are on their way home.
- Staying safe online. If you’re children use social media platforms, make sure you know who they are communicating with. It’s important to teach them that people they meet online may not always be who they say they are. If they want to meet an online friend in person, you should be involved in making the plans and be present when the meeting happens.
- If an attempted abduction happens, teach your children to actively resist, shout loudly and draw attention to themselves. Make sure they know where to go for help or how to call police.