One of the things parents fear most is having someone prey on their small children.
“Little bitty ones they don’t know. I mean you go ‘hey I’ve got candy’ and they may go. But we’ve warned them. No, we’ll buy you candy if you need any,” says tri-state grandmother, Charlotte Pearson.
With abductions and runaways making headlines, parents and grandparents are on edge.
“I know where they are at every minute,” says Pearson. “It sounds awful I guess in a way but I love them too much to have anything happen to them.”
Before even taking her grandchildren to the park, Pearson makes sure to remind her children to do much more than just watch where they are going.
“We went through do you talk to strangers? No. Do you help them find puppies if they ask you? No,” says Pearson.
With the rising temperatures, some people fear the chances of their children running into predators is also higher. Although, area law enforcement officers say the odds of that happening are slim.
“What we see in an overwhelming majority of abuse cases, the victim knows the offender,” says Evansville Police Sergeant Jason Cullum. “We very rarely see cases where it’s some random crime where a child was taken off the street and subjected to abuse so what really concentrate now is just telling the kids how to tell a trusted adult when someone has touched them inappropriately.”
Police say they will be patrolling the parks and other populated areas where children play.
“We want to keep people safe. But we don’t want parents to go places and feel like other individuals are going to be responsible for their children,” says Sgt. Cullum. “You still have to be a parent, you still need to know where your child is and what’s going on.”
You can find a list of registered sex offenders living in or around your Indiana neighborhood here.
If a child you know has experienced sexual abuse, you can find multiple resources here.