Predator Alert: Ways to stay safe

A special report on Newschannel 3 takes a look at ways families can protect their children from predators. (WWMT)

A couple of Kalamazoo dads have changed their morning routines recently: They're driving their daughters to school.

The reason: While walking, the girls were accosted and harassed by someone passing by, including one assailant who was riding a bike.

Those dads spoke to Newschannel 3 about recent incidents in which their daughters were accosted by strangers. In both cases, the girls ran and then notified authorities.

Police have developed a sketch of the suspect in once case, but no arrests have been made.

Kalamazoo Police Chief Jeff Hadley said children should be encouraged to do what those girls did, but also to use their cell phones in such situations, even as it happens.

“Sometimes we don’t get the call until hours later," Hadley said. “If something happens we need to know right away."

And while parents might worry their children are helpless in such situations, there are a number of things they can do to protect themselves, and should.

“Scream, walk the complete opposite direction, run, wave," Hadley said. "Whatever it is so that you can draw attention to yourself and create as much distance as you can between that person and that vehicle and you.”

Follow Andy Dominianni on Twitter and on Facebook.

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