Police in Bratislava are investigating three reported attempts to abduct children. The cases were reported in three different districts in the capital, the Sme.sk website reported.
“Police are dealing with all these reports and events,” said Bratislava police headquarters spokesperson Petra Hrášková, as quoted by Sme.sk, adding that she would not say anything more specific because the case related to children.
The police did confirm, however, that the cases happened under varying circumstances. The first reported attempt to kidnap a child occurred in Karlova Ves, where a 14-year-old girl was approached in front of her home; the second involved a boy who abductors reportedly attempted to drag into a van, the Plus Jeden Deň daily reported.
The most recent case involved men reportedly following a 10-year-old girl on her way home from school on March 13. The girl said she was followed by a silver Mercedes; when a man reportedly jumped from the car and tried to snatch her, she fled and managed to disappear into a crowd of people.
The girl has already given evidence to police and described her alleged attacker, Plus Jeden Deň wrote.
Meanwhile, the 10-year-old’s school has warned parents against a possible risk of abduction and advised them not to let their children travel to school or return home unaccompanied, the private broadcaster TV Markíza reported.
The police already tell children not to talk to people they do not know. They have organised several lectures in schools around Bratislava Region, during which they try to warn children about the possible risks and tell them what to do if they are approached by people who offer them gifts, Sme.sk wrote.
“Children have to be careful and not trust strange people,” said Hrášková, as quoted by Sme.sk, adding that it is nonetheless important not to frighten them into treating every situation as dangerous.
The mayor of Bratislava’s Nové Mesto district, Rudolf Kusý, reacted to the reports by asked for increased police patrols in front of schools and children’s playgrounds, the TASR newswire reported.
Kusý also asked public schools controlled by his local authority to enact measures to improve children’s security. All schools and nurseries located in Nové Mesto now have their own, standardised internal rules that they must observe.
“[The schools] are locked during classes, under the supervision of the janitor or other responsible person,” said Ján Borčin from the Nové Mesto local authority, as quoted by TASR.
To ensure children’s security, police advise parent or guardians to do the following:
- teach them the emergency numbers and how to use public telephone directories;
- teach them the home address and telephone number of at least one parent/guardian;
- tell them never to accept sweets or other gifts from strangers;
- tell them to ask the authorities, i.e. police officers or firefighters, for help.