Cold Lake – On the morning of Sept. 7, the Cold Lake RCMP responded to a report of two men approaching and offering a ride to students who were waiting for the bus.
According to RCMP, the two males traveling in a black SUV, told teenage boys that their bus was cancelled and then proceeded to offer them a ride to school.
"This was not the case, no buses were cancelled and any alternate transportation arrangements would not be made without parent and student knowledge, well in advance,” stated Cold Lake RCMP in a press release.
The ride was not accepted by the students who subsequently contacted their parents, who in turn reached out to the school and Cold Lake RCMP.
The two unidentified males were both described by witnesses as having dark complexions.
RCMP Sgt. Kim Hillier says, “With the excitement of the back-to-school season upon us, we would like to ensure the children in our community are knowledgeable and safety oriented, should they be offered transportation from strangers. Extra due diligence and planning ahead adds another safety element for those in our communities.”
She adds, “Our top priority is safety.”
The Cold Lake RCMP would like to bring public awareness to this incident and offer some reminders when waiting for transportation or dealing with strangers:
- Be vigilant. Parents and children are encouraged to talk about personal safety.
- Line up in an orderly fashion for pre-planned transportation and wait with a parent, guardian, or older friend when possible.
- Set up talk to call apps, so you can call faster in an emergency.
- Walk briskly and look alert.
- Take the shortest and safest route.
- Have your parents know your route and keep them posted on where you are.
- Be aware of your environment.
- Keep one hand free when walking. If you are carrying books or bags, be prepared to drop them. If you sense danger, drop what you have so your hands will be free from large or heavier objects.
- Trust your instincts, if you feel you are being followed, tricked, or something is not right, get out of the situation and seek help immediately.
- Don’t be embarrassed to ‘make a scene’ if you feel you are in danger. At worst you could hurt someone’s feelings, but it could save your life.
- Stay more than a car’s length from strangers.
- If you are approached by a stranger, seek help immediately. Call for help.
- If someone offers you something and you don’t know them, say no.
- If someone tells you there is an emergency, call the police and stay away from the person.
- Don’t go anywhere or get in a vehicle with someone you don’t know.