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Wyckoff police chief offers wisdom, common sense amid attempted luring reports

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BY WYCKOFF POLICE CHIEF BENJAMIN C. FOX: Each year I write a Halloween safety message for parents that is seen via the media or through the schools. It includes the typical information such as children using caution while walking the streets, warnings to drivers that children will be on the roadways, carrying lights and putting reflective material on costumes, staying safe by being in groups, tainted candy concerns, respect for others property, and a number of other issues.

This Halloween is going to have parents very worried, however.

There are probably few issues as important as the health and safety of our children. It’s what is of utmost importance to every parent. It’s what we did not understand when we were children, and now fully understand when becoming a parent.

The reports of luring attempts of children throughout Bergen County have been widely reported. The numbers of these reports exceed anything I have ever seen in my 35 years as a police officer.

Although we have not had any incidents in Wyckoff, rest assured that I am going to be pro-active and get any and all information out to the public if warranted, so that parents can take extra measures to protect their children.

I know it’s terribly scary for parents, and highlights the fact that at times this is a very dangerous world to grow up in. The luring reports have been so varied, that we can’t even tell our children exactly what or who to look out for.

Do we want our children being terrified of every stranger that they encounter in any way? I don’t think so.

What we do, then, as parents is that we teach our children general safety precautions and watch over them as often as possible.

All of what has been going on in Bergen County, coupled with the recent tragic death of a 12-year-old girl in southern New Jersey who had been missing for days, is going to make this a Halloween that is very unnerving to parents.

As I write this, I have stopped several times to take phone calls from parents inquiring whether they think that it’s safe to let their child out on Halloween. I can only dispense general safety advice. As the Chief of Police I cannot guarantee anyone’s safety on a daily basis. One parent I spoke with is organizing a “Trunk or Treat” — that is, parking cars in a parking lot and having the children go car to car for candy. Organized, and with parents at each car for safety, it’s probably a good idea.

As I said in the beginning, the safety of our children is everything. So this year’s Halloween safety message from me is somewhat different. It’s not the typical information that you hear from me year after year.

My message is designed to make you think. Think about your children. Think about keeping them safe. It’s one of the most important parental decisions you make.

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