On Saturday, a man was arrested for trying to lure kids out of the library by telling them that he had a puppy and he wanted to show it to them. The older you get, the more distance you have from those old PSAs and educational movies we watched in Elementary school. However, working with children, it is still such a real danger. This is just a reminder to be aware. Get to know the kids who go to your library so that they are comfortable enough to tell you when someone is acting strange or making them feel uncomfortable. A coworker thwarted this attempted kidnapping by being aware and approachable.
However, I am not saying that we, as librarians, are the only ones who need to be responsible for the well-being of our youngest patrons. Parents need to be there. They need to not assume that librarians are there to babysit their children. They need to educate their kids on some harsh realities and give kids strategies on what to do if this happens to them. Yes, sometimes they laugh at those PSAs "stranger danger! stranger danger!" But this is twice that I have heard of and seen on the news that that call has helped a kid stay out of harm's way.
Here are some links:
Safefromharmvideo.com - they have a good video to watch with your kids and it's free!
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
The National Alert Registry - you can keep aware of child predators in your neighborhood
The LAPD or your local police department
McGruff - the National Crime Prevention Council (as a kid, I loved McGruff)
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention - great resources for parents, kids and educators, etc.