When to Call
- Maybe you overhear someone bragging about having committed a crime.
- Maybe you know someone who is driving a stolen car...or is hiding from the police...or is a robber or drug dealer.
- Or maybe you just see something that doesn't look right. A strange car. A person acting sneaky. Someone with a gun or knife.
If you aren't sure that what you saw or heard is really a crime, call anyway. Let the police decide if it's worth investigating. It may be a piece of a clue to a big crime.
Back-To-School Safety Tips
• Traveling to and from school There is no "right" age for kids to start walking or biking to school alone or with a friend. Each family needs to consider the maturity of their child, how many busy streets have to be crossed, if these streets have lights or crossing guards.
• Being left home alone A big safety concern for parents is how to protect kids who are home alone after school. The favorite rule uttered by parents is: “Don't let a stranger inside the house.” It's a good rule, but ineffective. “Stranger” is not a good word to use. Kids expect strangers to be “scary” when indeed they look like an everyday person and kids need to know that. And some of the greatest threats to a child’s safety can come from someone on the internet and NOT at the front door. There are a few rules parents need to teach a child who is left home alone:
o Keep All Doors Shut: Instead of telling kids not to let a stranger in, the real rule needs to be: “Keep the doors shut and locked at all times.” Instead of filling your child's head with "don'ts"; simply tell them to keep all the doors to the outside (including the garage) closed and locked. If someone comes to the door, your child can communicate with this person through the door.
o Have a Check-In Time: Another thing parents should ask their child to do is call and let Mom or Dad know that the he has arrived home safely. Set a consistent time for the child to call you each day. Give him/her 10 minutes (plus or minus to allow for a slow bus) or any other event that might occur and disrupt the schedule. You can start to worry if he/she doesn't meet this deadline. Find a close neighbor who is usually home around this time. If the parent can't be reached, make sure the child knows to call this person to check in. Grandparents can provide an excellent “assist” to parents, and if living in town, might welcome a call from a grandchild to say he/she is home from school.
o Have a Plan: Parents need to remember that kids who are home alone are much more likely to encounter dangers such as fire from burning popcorn or falling down the stairs than being abducted by a stranger. It is very important that the family has a plan and knows how to react to different situations that may occur. Run practice drills and make sure your child does not hesitate or deviate from the plan that you have enacted.
o Rules for Internet Use: Children need to know what is OK to do untilmom or dad get home, and what is not. Getting started on homework, letting the dog out, having a snack, what friends can come over, what websites they can visit and which are off limits. These are decisions and rules that a parent or guardian should discuss with the child and decide on, before school begins. There can be structure to a child’s afternoon, even if no one else is home, leaving less opportunity for an unsupervised child to get into trouble.
Does Jacksonville have a curfew? YES and it is enforced throughout the year. A curfew applies to persons under 18 years of age. The curfew is 11:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday nights and midnight on Friday and Saturday nights. A person under18 is exempt if he or she is:
1. With a parent or guardian or other person 18 or over who is authorized by the parent to have control over the child,
2. At or going to or from a job, school or church function,
3. Attending an event open to the public and supervised by adults and beginning no later than 10:00 p.m.
4. In an area immediately adjacent to his or her residence
5. Running an emergency errand.