Dozens Of Child Luring Attempts Reported In 16 Area Communities

Dozens Of Child Luring Attempts Reported In 16 Area Communities

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PHILADELPHIA -

This school year alone we've reported on dozens of luring and abduction attempts across 16 area communities. The most recent happened just five days ago when a man tried to lure a 15-year-old Philadelphia girl into a white car. As parents, you think your child knows what to do if approached by a stranger, but do they?

Let's stop the video. What you're about to see is actually a setup. The boy is 11-year old Julian. His parents gave us permission to allow Tony. a FOX 29 intern, to approach him while walking to a neighborhood store on his block, to see if he'd do what they thought he would do.

We'll rewind now to show you how it all plays out.

Frightening. Tony managed to lure Julian over to a car and open the trunk where he could've disappeared. Let's break down what happened. Twice Julian starts to walk away. At one point he even appears to look Tony up and down as if his gut feeling was talking to him not to mention Tony wasn't exactly dressed for sledding. Still Julian walked away with a stranger.

By the time we got to Julian's house, mom Candice and little brother Ellis had informed him it was all a test.

"You teach them the right things since they're little and you always tell them be careful of strangers, don't talk to strangers but it's very hard to know what they'll do when they're out there," Candice said.

We showed Candice the video. She wasn't surprised Julian engaged in conversation.

"Because he's such a nice kid and he's very caring and open and he always wants to help someone," Candice said.

But her heart skipped a beat when she saw her son walk away with Tony under the guise of looking at a sled. Not to mention what we showed him wasn't a sled but a piece of TB lighting equipment.

"In my head it's like no no no don't go over to the trunk what if somebody pushes you in," Candice said.

I asked Julian if he had any inkling that something wasn't right.

"No. I didn't at all because it was a nice day. I think your surroundings have a lot a huge impact on what you think at that moment because it's a nice sunny day, it just snowed, all the kids were out playing and a nice friendly guy walks up to you with a sled it, it doesn't seem like anything peculiar is happening," Candice said.

Julian says at one point there was a flicker of fear but he says the feeling quelled quickly because he lives near a college campus where lots of young adults are known to sled.

"I got really close to the car and I knew at that point something dangerous could happen but I just felt so uh just comfortable in the environment," Julian said.

Julian is lucky this was a test .but for many kids it's a frightening reality.

Philadelphia Police say they get 100's of reports of attempted child lurings every year. Some are unfounded but of course they investigate them all. Police say times are changing though and so should your message to your child about stranger danger."

Captain John Darby with the Special Victim's Unit says he's seen the worst of the worst when it comes to child lurings.

"We see the scenarios where the predator is successful or almost successful in some cases," Darby said.

He says the stranger talk you're having with your child may be outdated...

"It's not so much the individual as it is their behavior," Darby said.

If you're painting too specific of a picture

"That a stranger is a dirty foul looking individual ghost type scary individual," Darby said. "Predators are nice, crafty shrewd individuals."

And Captain Darby says parents should not only tell their child what to look out for but they should role play. Test them.

"Kids instincts: the bells and whistles and they do go off because they feel uncomfortable but then the parents need to tell them how to respond to that" Darby said. "We don't want kids to be afraid but we sure want to make them aware and when kids are aware then they're empowered."

"If I had to give some advice it would be think twice before you talk to someone you're not familiar with," Julian said.

Candice says the test should be a lesson to all parents and she's glad she agreed to help us tell the story.

"I think any parent that said a stranger approaching their child is not one of their top ten worries in the suburbs the city anywhere you live, it could be a neighbor you just never know where that threat is," Candice sad. "I can talk to him to death as a mom but you know to go through something like that that experience will last, I'm sure he'll remember this much more than anything that I could tell him 50 times a day."

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