DES MOINES, Iowa -- Law enforcement officials joined Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds on the statehouse steps Monday to remind all of us to take steps to protect children.
When the weather warms up, children's routines change with sports, playgrounds and other activities.
Stranger danger is real. State leaders say it's strangers who are the usually the ones lurking to target kids.
“We are reminded of the pain that parents feels when their child is taken and we certainly encourage everyone to redouble their efforts to keep children safe,” said Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds.
It was a stranger who abducted and killed Kathlynn Shepard three years ago as she walked home from school in Dayton. That stranger, Michael Klunder, as is often the case, was a predator who has tried before.
“They make multiple efforts before they are successful, so if we are able to stop the attempts then we are much more likely to save those children,” said Roxann Ryan, Commissioner of the Iowa Department of Public Safety.
Have a code word and teach it to your kids. The word should be something you all can remember, so if someone else, besides you, goes to pick up your kids one day, your children knows only go with them if they know the code word.
Ryan cautions the importance of talking to your kids in a way that doesn’t scare them.
She estimates authorities take 15-30 potential abduction reports a year. That leads to between three and five arrests. With 3 million Iowans, the numbers show most people aren’t threats.
“Pay attention to things that look unusual. If it looks like someone is spending too much time watching children, we want to know about it,” Ryan said.
They stressed that several times the importance of paying attention.
Officials say if a situation doesn't seem right, try to remember a person's face, the vehicle and whatever else you can relay to law enforcement. So, can you remember the car and man in the car that were featured in the video?