Halloween safety stressed after attempted child luring on NW Side
October 30, 2013 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- Police say the suspect offered a boy candy to try and lure in into a car on Chicago's Northwest Side. It happened Sunday in the 6000-block of West Touhy Avenue in the city's North Edgebrook neighborhood.
It's not just checking the costumes to make sure they're safe and visible, but it's also about checking the route for trick-or-treaters, checking the sex offender registry and looking for any community alerts in your area. Residents in this section of North Edgebrook don't expect a lot of trick-or-treaters. But Les Bulgajewski will watch for those kids who may be out.
"I'll be a little more vigilant now that I realize this bulletin came out about this possible abduction absolutely," said Les Bulgajewski, resident.
On Wednesday, Chicago police issued a community alert for the area. On Sunday afternoon, police say a 12-year-old boy was followed by a man on West Touhy, asking him questions and offering candy if he came to man's the man's car. The boy ran to a nearby store and called his mother.
"The neighborhood is fairly safe. It doesn't happen that often up here. So something like this really is out of the ordinary," said Bulgajewski.
Authorities urge parents and neighbors to watch for any threats heading into Halloween.
"If you see someone suspicious or out please call 911. Do not allow your child to enter into a house if invited in. Accompany your child while trick-or-treating or [have] your child walk in a group. Most children these days have cell phones. Download a GPS app if they're going to be out with their friends so you can track their location," Brian White, executive officer at Cook County Sheriff's Office, said.
Some making mischief on Halloween have gone from throwing eggs to shooting paint balls. Community activist Andrew Holmes says people have been injured by this prank.
"Citizens are waiting on the bus either to go to work or go to school. All of the sudden the car pulls up for a van pulls up and a person and discharges a weapon with a paintball coming out. People are just standing there and all of a sudden they are under attack. They are hit in the eye, in the mouth. They're filming it and think it's a joke. People are going down. People are seriously injured," Holmes said.
Neighbors in the Jefferson Park area expect many trick-or-treaters. The neighborhood association president suggests parents and kids take notice of their surroundings this holiday.
"Train your kids to be alert when they walk around. My mother used to yell at me about walking around with my head in the clouds. Now more than ever kids need to be alert," said Judy Skotzko, Jefferson Park Neighborhood Association.
Modern technology may help parents, especially for older children who may be going out by themselves. Police suggesting downloading GPS trackers onto phones so that parents may track them as they go trick-or-treating.
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