Police to parents: Don't let your kids walk alone

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PHOENIX -- In the wake of three separate suspicious incidents in which strangers approached children, Phoenix police are reminding parents to talk to their kids about "Stranger Danger."

The most recent incident happened Wednesday morning near Southwest Elementary School near 10th Avenue and Dobbins Road, which is just north of South Mountain Park.

According to police, an 11-year-old girl was walking to school alone when a man approached her. The girl was able to get away and run home. Her parents immediately called 911.

While the girl was not injured, parents in the neighborhood are understandably concerned and would like police to increase their patrols.

The Phoenix Police Department said it plans to do that, but said there are some things parents and need to do to keep their children safe.

Police department all over the Valley are advising parents to talk to their kids and make sure they know exactly what to do if a stranger approaches them. They also say parents should not let their children walk to or from school alone; there's safety in numbers.

According to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, most attempted abductions occur when a child it walking to or from school or a school-related activity. Kids between 10 and 14 years old are targeted most often and for the most part, the suspect is in a vehicle.

There have been a number of attempted abductions near schools all over the Phoenix metro area since the school year began. While a few of the incidents clustered in the same general area might be related, most of the cases seem to involve different suspects.

In a letter the Roosevelt School District sent home to parents, the suspect is described as a Hispanic man approximately 48 years old with a chubby build, dark skin and light facial hair. He had short brown hair that was combed back, dark eyes, a double chin and spoke with a slight accent. He was driving a light brown or tan four-door car with dark tinted windows and a small dent near the front edge of the passenger front door.

If you have any information about this case, call Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS (948-6377), 1-800-343-TIPS (8477) or 480-TESTIGO (837-8446).