Avoid giving expensive phones to children - police
Superintendent Stephanie Lindsay, head of the Corporate Communications Unit of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), is pleading with parents to avoid giving their children expensive phones, thus reducing their susceptibility to attacks by criminals.
Giving advice to citizens in light of the new academic year that begins today, Lindsay said that although nothing is wrong with wanting to keep in touch with children, it is important that they are sensitised about the importance of keeping safe.
"If they (parents) give them a cell phone to keep in touch, don't give them those high-end cell phones, because they are targeted in many instances because of the cell phones. Avoid giving them the iPhones and the Samsung (Galaxy), because it is attractive to criminals," Supt Lindsay said.
She also said "lost children" continue to be an issue, especially in cases where they are going to a new school.
"Some of the children, very young, are going to school for the first time. Some are going to new schools and so we tend to find that at this early stage of the term, you have a lot of lost children, especially due to the new environment in which they have to operate," she said.
"We encourage parents, therefore, to place somewhere in the children's bags, an adult's name and contact information. When the police find a lost child, the first place we are going to search is their belongings for information that can get them to the parents," she said.
Similarly, Children's Advocate Diahann Gordon Harrison noted that parents have to make it their priority to keep the communication lines open with their children.
"In the last couple of weeks, we have been reminded about the importance of securing our children, as many have encountered violent acts, some fatally, others very seriously. So parents have to be in constant dialogue with their children and must institute proper arrangements for their children, particularly to and from school," she said.
"Also, how to conduct themselves with conflict resolution if a situation arises, because we have seen as well that it is not just general violence on children by persons who are not children, but there is peer-on-peer violence," she added.
Gordon Harrison also said there is an urgent need to fast-track plans to implement a comprehensive bus system.
Other safety tips:
- Avoid shortcuts.
- Avoid walking alone.
- Get home before it gets dark.
- In cases where parents don't drive, follow the kids or make proper arrangements.
- Don't play on the streets.