A report of a child being followed by a suspicious man on Friday morning was quickly investigated, say Kelowna RCMP.
Police say officers rushed to the scene of Ziprick Road and Renfrew Road but said there was no danger to the public after locating the suspect.
“Officers immediately attended the area and began an investigation,” said Cpl. Jocelyn Noseworthy.
“The man reported in this incident has been identified and we have been able to confirm that he was not following the child, but rather walking in the same direction.”
Kelowna RCMP say the report comes on the heels of two other reports regarding suspects allegedly following children in the Rutland area over the past two weeks.
“The man in this morning’s incident does not match the descriptions provided in either of the previous investigations,” said Noseworthy.
“Those matters are still being investigated, and we continue to ask anyone with information on those incidents to contact us.”
In the meantime, police said the reports are a reminder to parents to street proof their children, and gave several tips.
- Know their home address and landline/cellphone numbers
- Know how to contact their parents via cellphones or work numbers
- Know how and when to call 911 in an emergency
- Establish a code word for your family. This should be used in emergencies to identify a “safe person” other than their parent or caregiver
- Play what-if games with younger children to reinforce these safety messages
In the community:
- Children and teens should play and walk to places with a buddy.
- If they become separated or lost, they should tell someone with a nametag (examples: cashier or security guard) immediately
- Avoid conversations with strangers.
- If someone you do not know asks personal questions of you, run away or leave the situation immediately
- Never walk with or accept a ride, money or gifts from strangers or even someone you may know, without checking with your parents.
- Keep a safe distance from strangers and cars that approach you
- If a person tries to grab you scream loudly, make a lot of noise, and try to create a disturbance
- If a vehicle is involved, try to take get the licence plate number and a description of the stranger(s) and vehicle(s). Call 911 for help
- If you are taking a public bus, always sit near the driver
- Reduce the use of headphones or use of electronic devices that can distract you from your surroundings when you are walking
Police also say it’s OK for children to say no to adults who ask you to do something for them, such as:
- Help them find a lost pet
- Join them in an activity or game
- Give them directions
Anyone with information on these matters is asked to call the Kelowna RCMP at 250-762-3300 or Crime Stoppers 1-800-222-8477.