NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Parents in Bay Terrace are on alert after police say a man has been approaching children on the street.
According to police, the suspect approached a 10-year-old girl last Friday at 8 a.m., and then a 9-year-old boy this past Tuesday at 6 p.m., while they walked in the residential neighborhood.
Both students attend P.S. 53 and both of them got away from the suspected predator. In response, parents said they’re holding their children just a little closer these days.
“I’m disturbed. I take my kid to school; I pick them up all the time. We talked to him last night,” resident Edward Murray said.
Police said the descriptions they’ve heard of the suspect are extremely vague, since the kids are very young. The only information police have is the suspect is a white male of unknown age in a white car, possibly with a dog inside.
School Principal Annette Esposito said she hopes to reduce the time students are left unattended before and after school.
“They should be walking in a group, usually by a parent, if a parent is home. We would just appreciate that children don’t go through the park, that they go straight home, and then come back to the park with their parents,” Esposito said.
A letter sent home to parents this week reads, “to keep all of our students out of harm’s way, we strongly urge you to have your child travel in a group whenever possible.” The letter goes on to say, “…under no circumstance should any child use a short cut through any vacant lots or any other unpopulated area.”
In the interest of keeping parents in the know, Principal Esposito said student safety will be the focus of the next PTA meeting, which is scheduled for next Thursday morning.
The NYPD confirmed it is conducting extra patrols in the neighborhood surrounding P.S. 53.
The new warning about “stranger danger” comes just a few months after New York City was shaken by the abduction and murder of 8-year-old Leiby Kletzky in Brooklyn. Levi Aron has confessed to abducting and butchering the boy.
Given this warning, how would you keep your children safe? Sound off in our comments section below…