VALHALLA N.Y. -- In the wake of reported luring attempts that targeted girls in Mount Kisco and Rye , Westchester County officials said they do not believe the two incidents are related, and also offering advice to worried parents.
Speaking at a press conference on Friday morning at Westchester Police Academy in Valhalla, County Executive Rob Astorino offered a three-step approach.
“These three common-sense safety tips can help prevent tragedies: get loud, get away and get help," he said.
Luring involves an adult driver pulling up in a vehicle by a walking child or children, making overtures under false pretenses and then attempting an abduction.
The Rye incident involved two teenage girls who said they witnessed a driver masturbating in a car. Police said they do not believe that the Rye and Mount Kisco incidents are related, although a connection between the two luring reports in Mount Kisco has not been ruled out.
When a suspicious adult confronts a child, Astorino said that the child should yell in ways that alert passersby, such as screaming "Stranger!" or "He's not my dad!"
“If anyone ever grabs you, yell and fight," he said, adding that kids should try to grab things to hold onto, like a telephone pole, to prevent suspects from making successful abductions. The county executive also advised kids to kick, bite or scream if need be.
Astorino also advised kids to never approach cars that they do not recognize and to ignore drivers' overtures. He also added that kids should not help adults who seek assistance in finding something or someone, as abductors use the false help as a ploy.
If kids sense that they are being followed by drivers, Astorino said that they should turn around and walk in the opposite direction if it is safe. If a driver turns around to continue a pursuit, then Astorino advised kids to run for help, such stores, neighbors' homes or public places with a lot of people as examples for temporary refuge.
The county executive also urged kids who are targeted to call police by dialing 911.
“Always remember the police are here to help you and don't hesitate to call them, and they will never be mad.”
Westchester County Police Commissioner George Longworth, who reiterated the advice that Astorino gave, told reporters that patrols have been added to the Mount Kisco area since the luring reports, which also cover areas where children travel to and from school. No suspects have been apprehended yet and the investigation is ongoing, Longworth said.
Fielding questions from the press, Astorino explained that kids should yell out the types of things that he specified in order to help passing adults realize that an abductor is not related to the child.