Whenever I give a personal safety talks to young girls (like I did earlier this week when I spoke to some Clinton Middle School cheerleaders), I am always amazed at how many stories they share with me of what I call, "near misses."
One of the girls told me about being at home, when a man they didn't know came in through the garage and into the house. They had to climb out a window and run to a car and drive off.
Another girl told me of being in the shower and hearing a man's voice. She didn't realize it was a stranger until she got out and saw him.
A high school age girl in Broken Arrow told me recently, she was jogging after school (the same time and same route everyday with no cell phone), when a man in a car started tagging along beside. She ran into a nearby wooded area and the man actually got out of the car and chased after her. She came to a farm house and they helped her.
I talked to a teenager who was babysitting in mid-Tulsa. She fell asleep with the youngest child on a couch and awoke to a man standing right outside the window, staring at them.
100 percent of these girls told me the first thing they did, was call their Mom or Dad.
I urge them to call 911 first and then a family member. All of us need to realize that if we call 911 from a cell phone, we must tell them our location as best we can. Some counties will soon have the technology to locate a cell phone caller, but, not all and not yet.
It worries me to no end that all these "near misses" could easily turn into tragic news stories. Even though stranger kidnappings and other stranger incidents are relatively rare, these stories remind me, we are only a step away from heartache.
Please talk to teenagers (boys and girls) early and often about what to do in these situations. Practice scenarios and solutions. They often think you're over-reacting or being too protective, but, it's simply not true. They need to know there's a balance to being a care-free kid who's having fun and being grown up enough to save themselves , if need be.