With school set to begin next week, Dedham police have released 10 back-to-school safety tips, and reminded all residents to keep alert and report suspicious activity.
1. Always take a friend when walking or biking to and from school. Walk and ride in well-lit areas and never take shortcuts. Follow all the bicycle rules and wear a helmet.
2. Stay with a group while waiting at the bus stop. If anyone bothers you while going to or from school, get away from that person and tell a trusted adult like your parents or teacher. If an adult approaches you for help or directions, remember grownups needing help should not ask children for help; they should ask other adults.
3. Teach your children not to accept a ride from anyone unless you have said it is ok in that instance.
4. If someone follows you on foot, get away from him or her as quickly as you can. If someone follows you in a car, turn around and go in the other direction. Always be sure to tell your parents or a trusted adult or the Dedham Police what happened.
5. Teach your children that if anyone bothers them or makes them feel scared or uncomfortable that they should trust their feelings and immediately get away from that person. Teach them it is ok to say no.
6. Teach your children if anyone tries to take them somewhere they should resist by kicking and screaming, try to run away, and draw attention by kicking and screaming, "This person is trying to take me away" or "This person is not my father/mother."
7. Teach your children to never accept money or gifts from anyone unless you have told them it is ok to accept in each instance.
8. Make sure the school has current and accurate emergency contact information on file for your children and confirm names of those authorized.
9. Always know where your children will be. Teach your children to always check first before changing their plans before or after school. Teach your children to never leave school with anyone unless they check first with you or another trusted adult, even if someone tells them it is an emergency.
10. If you go home alone after school, check to see that everything is okay before you go in. Once inside, call your parents to let them know that you are okay. Make sure you follow your "Home Alone" rules; keeping the door locked, not opening the door for or talking to anyone unless the person is a trusted family friend or relative and you feel comfortable being alone with that person and the visit has been preapproved by your parents. Do not tell people who call that you are home alone. Have a neighbor or trusted adult that you can call if you're scared or there's an emergency. Remember that you can always call the Dedham Police for assistance.
For emergencies, call 911. For non-life threatening calls, dial 781-326-1212, and the anonymous tip line is 781-326-7666.