Terrorist threats against “soft targets,” or those without military defenses, are an enduring security challenge. Some extremists who seek to terrorize civilians may target Families and even children.
Children are a part of the Army community, and threats against them must be recognized and mitigated through awareness and protective measures. The Army Criminal Investigation Command offers tips to help keep children safe from both criminal and terrorist threats:
* Never leave young children alone or unattended. Be certain children are in the care of a trustworthy person.
* If it is necessary to leave appropriately aged children at home (consistent with local laws and command guidance), keep the house well lighted and notify a trusted neighbor.
* Instruct children to keep doors and windows locked and to not allow strangers inside.
* Teach children how to contact the police or a neighbor in an emergency.
* Ensure children know where and how to contact parents at all times.
* Maintain recent photographs of children. The photographs should have a clear view of the child’s face.
* If you have children entering the home alone, teach them not to enter the home if the door is ajar, if a strange car is in the driveway or if something else does not seem right. Tell them where they need to go if this situation occurs.
Remind and encourage children to:
* Never leave home without telling someone where they will be and who will accompany them.
* Travel in pairs or small groups.
* Avoid isolated areas.
* Use approved play areas where recreational activities are supervised by responsible adults and police protection is readily available.
* Refuse automobile rides from strangers or to accompany strangers anywhere on foot, even if the strangers say a parent sent them or approved it. Children should similarly be wary of strangers offering gifts or food or using small animals to get them into a vehicle.
* Report anyone who attempts to talk to or touch them in any way that makes them feel uncomfortable or scared to the nearest person of authority (parent, teacher or police) as soon as possible.
* Never give information about Family members over the phone, such as parents’ occupations or names or Family plans and dates.
* Screen phone calls through voice mail or answering machines to avoid answering calls from strangers.