Tulsa Police issue a 'stranger alert' to area schools

Wednesday, April 30th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

A warning for Tulsa area schools and parents. Tulsa Police's sex crimes unit issued a ‘stranger alert’ after receiving a number of complaints of men lurking around bus stops and approaching children as they walk to and from school.

News on 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright explains what this alert means for you. Lori: "What would you do if somebody?" Child: "I wouldn't go with him because I don't know him and he might hurt me." Despite what they say, many kids still think adults are trustworthy and that trust makes children prime target for molesters. Child: "A stranger might take you in their car and not give you back."

Tulsa Police have been getting a number of complaints about strangers lurking around schools and bus stops in recent weeks. And, of course, these strangers don't always look like the monsters they are. Det Rod Russo, Sex Crimes Unit: "They come in all races, all ages, all sizes. They may be in a pickup truck; they may be in a brand new car.

The best advice is, if you don't know them, don't talk to em." Police say it's not enough to tell kids not to talk to strangers, but teach them the scams strangers know and tell kids they have three responses. Scream, run and tell an adult. Telling is especially important because past experience shows child predators won't give up.

Lori: "What if he wanted to get you ice cream?"">>Child: "Walk away." Lori: "What if he said he was a friend of your mom's to give you a ride home?" Child: "Walk away." Lori: "Why?" Child: "My mom might not know 'em."

You don't need to wait until a crime occurs, if someone looks and acts suspiciously, go ahead and call. Det Rod Russo: "If he's just hanging around, it won't hurt anything to check him out. I'd rather he be inconvenienced for two minutes than a child get abducted or assaulted or kidnapped." And, no parent wants it to come to that.

Clinton Middle School's principal made an announcement Tuesday afternoon, warning children to be leery of men standing near bus stops. And, the Edison High School staff sent an email to employees, reminding them to caution students who walk home.