Warning over fake abductions

2016-06-21 06:00

While reports of child abductions across Cape Town have gone viral and sent parents into a panic, Manenberg police have issued a stern warning.

This follows a statement by Western Cape police last week after several social media posts about alleged abductions at schools and shopping malls were shared and read by thousands of residents.

According to the statement, police are refuting the reports on social media as these alleged incidents cannot be substantiated with any police records.

Only one attempted kidnapping Provincial police spokesperson, Lieutenant-Colonel André Traut, says only one case of attempted kidnapping was registered on Wednesday 1 June in Strand where a 10-year-old girl was allegedly approached by an unidentified female driving a white Toyota Quantum who asked her to come to her vehicle.

“The child managed to escape the situation and as yet, no one has been arrested.”

Another social media post released in June indicated a mother had spotted a woman taking pictures of her child and confronted her.

Traut says on Wednesday 8 June a case of crimen injuria was registered for an incident where an adult female took photographs of a child in a mall in Somerset West on Saturday 4 June.

“The person implicated in the matter has reported to police and submitted a statement. The case docket has since been referred to the court for a decision regarding possible prosecution.”

He says these two matters are the only cases under investigation and appeals to the public to refrain from deliberately spreading inaccurate information.

In the Manenberg police precinct, police spokesperson, Captain Ian Bennett, says the posts have sparked panic among parents who have even opted to keep their children at home.

Unfounded rumours“The rumours of a syndicate operating in Cape Town trying to steal children is unfounded and no children have been reported missing. These Facebook messages have resulted in some parents staying out of work and not sending their children to school.”

Bennett says while the safety of children is important to police, the situation has to be taken in context. He advises parents to make sure they know where their children are at all times but says parents should not let viral media posts affect their daily lives.

“The problem with this inaccurate information is that nobody verifies it. The incidents outlined by provincial police are the only confirmed issues reported to police. We cannot investigate matters which are not reported, and keeping your child out of school because of a Facebook post is unnecessary and detrimental because they loose out on school time.”

Report missing children immediatelyBennett explains in a case where a parent cannot find their child, the first hour after their disappearance is critical. He says the first step is to gather essential information about the child and call the police immediately with their last known location.

“Quite often people go to their family first and they go look for a child before informing police. This is problematic because the sooner we know the sooner we can act and mobilise security organisations like neighbourhood watches to help us. It is always helpful to have a recent photograph of your child and a description of what they were wearing,” he concludes.

If you suspect your child is missing call your local police station or 08600 10111.


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