Corporal Candace Hrdlicka says the reports from both Sexsmith and Grande Prairie are a reminder that with children back to school and out in the community more than the previous six months, it’s good to have a reminder of some of the basics. Hrdlicka adds the buddy system is a great place to start.
“Always having somebody with you increases your safety, and it really doesn’t matter what age you are, from little kids to adults,” she says, “and not being afraid to be loud and telling somebody immediately about it if you’re uncomfortable or somebody approaches you.”
Hrdlicka also suggests discussing what to do if your child becomes lost or separated from a parent while out in public, and to encourage them to tell a parent or trusted adult if someone approaches them, or if a situation makes them uncomfortable. She adds teaching your child to trust their instincts and the importance of paying attention to their surroundings can be a big help.
“It’s helpful to have discussions with your children where you practice scenarios, ask them what they’d do if somebody approaches them, asks them for help, says their parents sent them to pick them up,” she adds.
Hrdlicka says it’s very easy for anyone to also post reports of what they believe to be suspicious activity on Facebook or other social media platforms. However, for the authorities to do their jobs, she urges the public to report directly to the police.
“We strongly encourage the public to report any incidents that they feel might be suspicious to police, [as] it helps direct where we are making extra patrols, and we always investigate those incidents.”
Any suspicious activity can be reported to the Grande Prairie RCMP at 780-830-5701 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).