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Talking with Children About Safety

One-third of all "stereotypical" child kidnappings occur in the fall. Former FBI profiler Clinton Van Zandt urges parents to talk to their children about safety

According to the latest national estimates of abducted children, one-third of all "stereotypical" kidnappings* occurred in the fall. Other government data show that sexual assaults on adolescents (ages 12-17) peaked at 3:00 pm, just as kids are getting out of school.

"With many children walking to and from school and coming home to empty
houses, now is a time for parents to get serious about safety," said Dr. Clinton Van Zandt, founder of www.LiveSecure.org. "Parents can help protect kids from vicious predators by teaching them to make informed decisions and use good judgment."

The majority of children who are abducted know the perpetrator. Sexual abuse is often the motive. In one year, more than 58,000 children were abducted by a non-family member, (including 115 stereotypical kidnapping cases), half of these abductions resulted in sexual abuse.

"Parents can no longer just rely on the out-dated 'Stranger Danger' advice
they received as kids," said Van Zandt. "Kids and parents need to be savvy
not only about strangers, but about the people they interact with every day. Child predators can literally make a career out of gaining access to
children as coaches, teachers, or camp counselors."

Parents should also be aware of registered sex offenders in their neighborhood or near their child's school. Links to sex offender registries nationwide can be found at www.LiveSecure.org. There are currently over a half a million known sex offenders in the U.S. and countless unknown child predators.

October is Crime Prevention Month. There is evidence that the increase in prevention and intervention efforts to protect children over the past two
decades is working. There was a 40 percent drop in the number of
substantiated child sexual abuse cases from 1992 to 2000.

Parents also play a key role in preventing abuse and abduction. For free
tips on "Protecting Children & Teens" and the "10 Safety Tips Every Child
Should Know" visit www.LiveSecure.org. Parents can also order the "Protecting Children from Predators" DVD & Child ID Kit, which addresses how to talk to your child, what to say, what age to start, and how to spot an inappropriate adult relationship with your child. The Child ID Kit organizes fingerprints, a photo, DNA and other information should parents ever need it.

* A stereotypical kidnapping is an abduction perpetrated by a slight acquaintance or stranger in which a child is detained overnight, transported at least 50 miles, held for ransom or abducted with the intent to keep the child permanently, or kill the child.

LiveSecure.org provides the public with information on personal and family
safety and security related issues. The site was created by Dr. Clinton R.
Van Zandt, founder and President of Van Zandt Associates, Inc. (VZA), an international threat and risk assessment group specializing in behavioral and forensic analysis. Dr. Van Zandt retired from the FBI in 1995 after 25 years of service, ending his career as both the FBI's Chief Hostage Negotiator and a Supervisor in the Bureau's Behavioral Science Unit. Dr. Van Zandt is also a well-known television and radio guest and commentator.

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