How to Protect Your Children From School Bus Surfers
After Jayme Closs was allegedly kidnapped by a man who first saw her at a school bus stop, experts are warning parents of these potential school bus surfers and how to keep children safe.
School bus stops can be a favored hunting ground for people looking to kidnap children.
Most recently, 13-year-old Jayme Closs' suspected abductor, Jake Patterson, told investigators that he decided to take her after spotting her board a bus. Jayme spent 88 days in captivity before managing to escape.
So what can you do to protect your children from so-called school bus surfers? Inside Edition spoke to Angeline Hartman of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to get her advice.
"The most vulnerable time for a child, when a predator can target a child, is before school and after school," Hartman said.
At this point, Hartman explained, "the parent has already done the hand-off."
"They think the child is on his way to school and they're not thinking a predator is honing in on this particular period," she said.
Predators are looking for a moment of opportunity when a child is alone so they can snatch them. Security expert Steve Kardian recommended that whenever children are walking to or from a bus stop, they should not be alone.
"Have a buddy system, always make sure they are with someone else," Kardian said.
He added that's it's also important to teach children to be aware of their surroundings, for example, "if they see a car drive back and forth, if they see a car that's in the same spot all the time," that's a sign that something fishy could be going on.
Patterson, who faces charges of kidnapping as well as murder for killing Jayme's parents, has not entered a plea, though he allegedly admitted to police he "did it." His bail has been set at $5 million and he is due in court next month.
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