Safety Tips and Community Impact
Sex offenders come from all walks of life. While "stranger danger" is real, it is rare. The reality is that most sexual assaults against adults are committed by non-strangers, and about 90% of sex offenses against children are committed by someone who is known to the child or the child's family.
You can reduce the risk to yourself and your family by taking simple precautions:
- Practice good security at home, at the office, and in your vehicle
- Be alert to locations and situations that make you and your family vulnerable to crime, and be aware of the people around you and your family
You can teach your children to avoid situations that put them in danger of abuse, molestation, or abduction, by establishing a home environment where your children feel safe to tell you anything without fear of shame, ridicule or punishment. A safe and supportive home environment, combined with clear instructions about what behavior is acceptable and what is not, will guide your children's actions and encourage them to tell you if anything improper happens.
Many parents warn their children not to talk to strangers, HOWEVER, since most sexual assaults against children are committed by someone known to them, it is best to teach them to avoid situations or actions with non-strangers as well. Children should know from an early age that some behavior isn't acceptable, and that they have the right to tell an adult to leave them alone. Here are some specific rules that you can teach your child:
- Stay away from people who call you near their car, even if they offer to take you somewhere exciting or say they were sent by your parents to get you.
- If someone tries to take you away, yell, "This person is not my mother (or father)," and scream.
- If you get lost in a store, find another mom with children, or go to the checkout counter; DO NOT wander around on your own.
- You DO NOT have to keep secrets from your parents; no one can hurt your parents, family or pets if you tell them what happened.
- No one should touch you in parts that are covered by your bathing suit, and you should not be asked to touch anyone there.
- DO NOT let anyone take your picture without permission from your parents or teacher.
You can find additional safety tip on the Megan's Law website.
Protecting the community from sexual predators is a priority of the Merced County District Attorney's Office. The prosecution of sex crimes begins after a police investigation is completed and presented to the District Attorney's Office. It is important that community members report suspicious behavior to law enforcement immediately.