Playing outside her front door at her Esquimalt home, six-year-old Cassidy Scott was approached by a man who asked her to go with him.
She said “no” and ran inside to tell her mom, Lia Carle.
“I was packing up some bags and I could hear her singing and then it sounded like she was talking to someone and I thought it was the landlord,” recalled the Langford mom, who said she was headed to the door as her six-year-old ran in telling her what happened.
The man asked Scott if her mom was home and when she said “yes” he still asked her to go with him.
“I was really surprised and really scared considering this happened right under my nose,” Carle said.
It was five years ago, but with two similar recent incidents on the West Shore, Carle sparked up the conversation with her kids.
“We would come up with scenarios and ask her what she would do. We would say ‘What would you do if you happened to get lost in mall?’ We asked her just about everything we could think of,” Carle said. “We do the same thing now with our five-year-old son.”
One question was “What would you do if a stranger asked you to go with them?”
“We did this in an informal setting. We don’t want to scare our kids, but they need to be prepared in case it happens,” Carle said.
Within a few weeks of each other, two cases similar to Cassidy’s have been reported to the West Shore RCMP.
One incident occurred in View Royal on April 10 and another in Langford April 30. In both cases a child was asked to go with a man in his vehicle. Both children declined and the suspect or suspects have not been found.
“We as police know these things happen and we encourage parents and adults to have age-appropriate conversations with their children,” said Cpl. Kathy Rochlitz with West Shore RCMP. “We need to empower our children to recognize when something does not feel right, whether it’s staying over at a friend’s house for the night or walking home from school.”
Rochlitz advises parents to tell their children that if something doesn’t feel right on a walk home from school to turn around or stop at a business to call someone they trust.
“Tell them to trust their Spidey senses.”