Bus stop safety: How to protect your children from predators
SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - When it comes to protecting our kids from predators, awareness is the key. It's the little things, like the walk to the bus stop and wait for the ride that can open the door to for a would-be predator looking for an opportunity.
That's why police say it's important to pay attention to who among those living nearby is required to register as a sex offender. "One thing that we try to let folks know about is that there are sex offenders living in their neighborhoods. And we want you to be aware of their locations," Lt. Bill Davis with the Bossier Parish Sheriff's Office said.
Davis says the BPSO actively monitors close to 200 registered sex offenders from tier one to tier three in Bossier Parish.
In Caddo Parish, there are more than 700 registered sex offenders with about 428 registered within the Shreveport city limits.
Tiers of registered sex offenders:
Tier I: When someone commits a crime involving a sexual act or a specified crime against a minor.
Tier II: When someone commits a crime against a minor and it is comparable to sex trafficking, coercion, abusive sexual contact or intent to engage in criminal sexual activity. This tier also includes producing or distributing child pornography.
Tier III: This is the most serious classification. A tier III sex offender commits crimes such as kidnapping, aggravated sexual contact and abusive sexual contact.
"Sex offenders are not to be bus drivers, they're not supposed to be on buses, so they're not going to ride the buses," says Davis.
If there is an issue at a bus stop regarding a stranger, parents should let the school and law enforcement know. "If need be, we will relocate a bus stop," Public Relations Liaison for Bossier Schools Sonja Bailes said. "We ask that the parents watch them until they get on the bus and that they keep them in their eyesight when they do arrive home and until they are safely on their own doorstep."
Over in Caddo Parish, it's the same story. Parents should keep an eye out and let the school and police know if there's an issue.
Cpl. Marcus Hines with the Shreveport Police Department said officers patrol bus stop locations heavily in the mornings and afternoons. "You don't want to take any unnecessary chances with their safety. It's not just sex offenders. It's anyone," Hines said.
The Caddo School District agrees, but notes that registered sex offenders are not a factor when it comes to choosing bus stops. "The movement of sex offenders is so much, so that's when we rely on those notices that go out and then parents to get involved and let us know when there is an issue," Director of Communications for Caddo Schools Victor Mainiero said.
But as your student grabs their backpack and heads out the door each morning for the school bus, remember to monitor your children along the way, and take note of what they are wearing in event of of a worst case scenario.
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