Once again, delay leaves kids at risk
When it comes to the safety of our children, the Yuma Sun firmly believes in informing the public of any potential risks.
After all, an informed parent is armed with the knowledge to help their child make smart decisions, and to help keep them safe.
So it’s worrisome when we see continued issues with that concept.
In San Luis on Wednesday, a child walking home from school was approached by a man in a white minivan who tried to convince her to get in the vehicle, under the premise that her mother had sent him to pick her up.
Thankfully, the child didn’t take the bait. Instead, she refused, and asked the driver for the name of her mother, at which point the driver left.
The child – only 11 years old – knew not to get into the minivan, and fortunately, the man in the van took “no” for an answer and drove off.
The incident, which happened at about 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, was reported to the San Luis Police Department at about 6:40 p.m. that evening.
The question, once again, is why the delay in reporting the incident to local media outlets, who didn’t learn of it until 10:50 a.m. Friday morning when the San Luis Police Department finally issued a news release?
SLPD officials did share the incident with schools in the area on Thursday, which in turn informed students and parents, but what about parents whose children weren’t in school, perhaps because they were sick, or perhaps because they are too young?
We understand the need to investigate a situation to make sure it is truthful and/or accurate.
But isn’t there a responsibility to public safety to release this information to the public as a whole as soon as possible? Couldn’t agencies say something to the effect of, “the San Luis Police Department is investigating a report of a possible child abduction attempt, which occurred earlier today. Here are the details …”
When it comes to child safety, wouldn’t an agency want that information out as soon as possible?
While this 11-year-old child is safe, who’s to say that this person won’t try to strike again?
We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. Every moment counts. We’re glad that SLPD at least informed the schools, but the public as a whole needed to know as well. Agencies need to improve their communications with the public to ensure information is out there when threats exist.
- This editorial was updated at 3:15 p.m. Saturday to correct the time the incident was reported to SLPD by the girl's parents, which was actually 6:40 p.m. Wednesday. The Yuma Sun regrets the error.