Police identified the cabdriver who approached a boy by Perkins Woods, and he told police he was trying to ask directions. The boy's parents declined to sign a complaint.
Strangers stopped their cars and spoke to children in two separate incidents in Evanston this week, one near Nichols School and the other near Perkins Woods.
In the first incident, a boy was riding his bike Tuesday near Nichols Middle School when he was approached by a man in a minivan, according to an e-mail sent to the Nichols School parents listserv. The boy had stopped at a crosswalk and was signaling the van to go past when the driver pulled over and asked if he needed a ride.
The driver then got out of his van and opened his trunk to show the boy there was room, the e-mail said. The boy took off on his bike and weaved through alleyways back home, and his parents have since filed a police report.
In the second incident, a 12-year-old boy was walking near Grant Street and Ewing Avenue when he was approached by a 55-year-old man driving a taxicab, according to police communications coordinator Perry Polinski. When the driver called out to the boy and motioned him over to the car, the boy went home and called his mother.
Juvenile are trying to identify the taxicab company to determine whether there was any criminal intent, Polinski said.
The National Crime Prevention Council offers the following tips for parents on protecting kids from "stranger danger:"
- Know where your children are at all times. Make it a rule that your children must ask permission or check in with you before going anywhere. Give your children your work and cell phone numbers so they can reach you at all times.
- Point out safe places. Show your children safe places to play, safe roads and paths to take, and safe places to go if there’s trouble.
- Teach children to trust their instincts. Explain that if they ever feel scared or uncomfortable, they should get away as fast as they can and tell an adult. Tell them that sometimes adults they know may make them feel uncomfortable, and they should still get away as fast as possible and tell another adult what happened. Reassure children that you will help them when they need it.
- Teach your children to be assertive. Make sure they know that it’s okay to say no to an adult and to run away from adults in dangerous situations.
- Encourage your children to play with others. There’s safety in numbers!