Strangers trying to lure teenagers into a van: 5 basic tips to stay safe

Strangers trying to lure teenagers into a van: 5 basic tips to stay safe

Channel NewsAsia·2018-01-18 07:10

SINGAPORE: Following two incidents of teenage girls from international schools being stopped and asked by strangers to get into a van in the space of a week, former president of the Security Association of Singapore T. Mogan gave Channel NewsAsia some tips on how students can keep safe in such a situation. 

1. Avoid eye contact

Mr Mogan, who has been in the industry for 24 years, said the best way to react to such contact from strangers is to completely ignore them and especially to avoid eye contact. He lauded the teenagers' decision to not engage the occupants of the van, to ignore them completely and move away quickly.

2. Walk in pairs

There is safety in numbers, said Mr Mogan, and students could pair up as a means of protecting themselves. This could be especially useful if they have to walk through quiet or secluded spots on their way to and from school.

3. Walk towards traffic and people

When trying to get away from strangers, students should walk towards an area that has more vehicular traffic or which is populated. When more people are around, the less likely it is that strangers will take any action. In addition, more crowded areas offer an opportunity to raise the alarm if children feel threatened.

4. Communicate about such dangers

While Singapore is generally a safe country, the recent incidents highlight that there are still risks. As a result, Mr Mogan said it is essential that parents have open communication on such dangers with their kids, highlighting that while they are highly unusual here, they do exist. Part of the communication should involve giving some basic safety tips and advice on how to stay safe. 

5. Note descriptions 

While getting to safety is the top priority when approached by strangers, if students are able to note how they look, what accent they have and any other information, this could help the police track down those who make such approaches. 

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