Disturbing footage that shows the attempted abduction of an 11-year-old girl who was on her way to school has parents concerned.
A home surveillance camera, featured recently on Fox News Digital, captured the moment when suspect Joseph Ruiz, 37, abruptly pulled over his car while the girl was walking to school in Glendale, Arizona. He bolted toward her, but the child was able to outrun him and escape. (See the video at the top of this article.)
Ruiz was booked after being charged with attempted kidnapping and custodial interference, according to FOX 10 Phoenix.
Still, child predators are a reality across the United States.
Fox News Digital spoke to David Nance, a safety expert and CEO of the personal safety brand SABRE in Chicago, Illinois, about what parents should know about keeping their children safe.
“Remember even if you live in a ‘safe neighborhood,’ it only takes one person with bad intentions to enter that neighborhood to make it unsafe,” he said.
Nance suggested that parents take into account how old their children are before allowing them to walk to school alone.
“[Eleven years old] is still pretty young to be walking [to] school alone,” Nance said, “regardless of how short that walk might be.”
Nance emphasized that safety in numbers is important, and advised parents to have conversations with their children about what to do in dangerous situations.
“Tell them to trust their instincts if something does [or] doesn’t seem right – like a vehicle doing a slow U-turn and stopping directly next to you on a street,” Nance said.
“Give this relaxed 360-degree awareness a name that resonates with your children. Perhaps you even put a yellow patch on their backpack or give them a yellow rubber wristband to serve as a reminder.”
“Once a potential threat is identified, put as much distance between that threat and yourself as possible,” he said. “Run and yell for help.”
If children are unable to distance themselves from a threat sufficiently, parents can also equip an alarm on their young child’s backpack in case of an emergency.
Nance also noted that parents can use technology to keep their children safe and their minds at ease.
“If your children carry a phone, they could have a smart safety button, which connects to a phone via Bluetooth and then notifies parents and selected contacts of a threat and their location,” Nance said.