Ti­tahi Bay on alert

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

Ti­tahi Bay par­ents are on alert be­cause four chil­dren have been in­vited into strangers’ cars since July.

No child got into the cars, but par­ents have posted warn­ings on a Face­book group for Ti­tahi Bay School par­ents.

On July 28, a 9-year-old Ti­tahi Bay School pupil was ap­proached at 5pm by strangers in a green sta­tion wagon.

The boy was bik­ing in Di­mock St be­tween Downes St and Main Rd when the driver, a young man, of­fered him a ride home.

He told the driver to stop fol­low­ing him and raced home, his mother Loreena Daw­son said.

‘‘ He was shocked when hap­pened.

‘‘For a while we didn’t want our chil­dren to go any­where un­less they were with some­one.’’

In early July two in­ter­me­di­ate girls were in­vited into a green sta­tion wagon, af­ter which Ti­tahi Bay School sent a note home to par­ents about stranger dan­ger, Mrs Daw­son said.

Last Tues­day, a 13- year- old Aotea Col­lege stu­dent was walk­ing home along Ti­tahi Bay Rd at the Taka­puwahia traf­fic lights when a blue- grey car stopped next to him.

A man and a woman sig­nalled for the boy to hop in, the boy’s mother, Liz Smith-Lee-Lo, said.

The boy re­fused the of­fer and told his par­ents as soon as he got home.

Ms Smith-Lee-Lo has an­other son at Aotea and two chil­dren at

it Ti­tahi Bay School.

She said she had in­formed Aotea about the in­ci­dent and had re­in­forced stranger dan­ger to all her chil­dren. Her son was do­ing well. ‘‘He’s good. He knows what to do next time.’’

Po­lice had vis­ited the fam­ily last week and had been con­duct­ing drive- bys of the Bay, Ms Smith-Lee-Lo said.

Ti­tahi Bay com­mu­nity con­sta­ble Hemi Tito said he was aware of only the in­ci­dent with the girls, but said there was no need for par­ents to panic.

‘‘As far as I’m aware, it’s not out of con­trol.’’

Mr Tito would not name any ar­eas for chil­dren to avoid, but re­peated ad­vice about chil­dren walk­ing fa­mil­iar routes and walk­ing with other chil­dren.

If chil­dren felt threat­ened they should go to the near­est house for help or run home and tell an adult, Mr Tito said.

Ti­tahi Bay School deputy prin­ci­pal Deb­o­rah Mal­colm would not comment on the is­sue, but Ti­tahi Bay North School prin­ci­pal Steven Cald­well said his pupils were fre­quently ed­u­cated about stranger dan­ger.

‘‘Safety is para­mount. We tend to spend a bit of time on it,’’ he said.

He, too, had heard only of the first in­ci­dent, but if more chil­dren were ap­proached he would warn all par­ents, he said.

‘‘ If there was some­thing we would con­sider a di­rect threat, then I would send a let­ter to par­ents.’’

Photo: KRIS DANDO

Rub­bish col­lec­tor: Leon Chick hates see­ing rub­bish like this in Onepoto Do­main, near his home.

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