“Please continue to have talks with your children about safety and strangers.”Posted: September 12, 2013
This week a reader sent me a recent stranger-danger alert issued by a Birmingham, MI elementary school. My brother Tim went to a nearby elementary school until he was abducted and murdered in March 1977.
The principal describes the incident and notes a police report was filed. Thank god an adult witness intervened. I have to say that I agree with the reader that, given the dark history in Birmingham surrounding this issue, this was too tame. I will next post an email alert I received from our school district in Illinois as a contrast.
I hope the Birmingham PD issued an immediate press release in addition to this school alert. Did an alert go out for the entire school district, or just this school? This man will just move to another school to try to lure kids. The press release I received from our district involved an attempted lure in neighboring district. Was there a description of a car or a license plate? Did a police sketch artist sit down with these kids and the adult witness?
Communities like Birmingham seem so concerned with the bad press they may get by acknowledging the ugly truth about these incidents, that they throw other potential victims under the bus. If the communities in Oakland County didn’t have this one hammered home in 1976 and 1977, there is almost no hope. The reason multiple stranger danger incidents occur in a community is because there is no fear of being noticed or caught by the police. What does that tell you?
I think communities like this tend to have a long, sad history of conveniently sweeping realities under the rug. Crime prevention involves acknowledging problems, healthy awareness, and high-visibility police patrol. This is the responsibility we bear on behalf of our children.
One thing that is immediately evident upon looking at the limited case file information obtained via FOIA on the OCCK case (Chris Busch documents) and the limited investigation by the MSP into the Fox Island pedophile/child porn ring (Francis Shelden documents): Oakland County had more than its share of pedophiles, operating with complete impunity, in the 1970’s. Have things changed? How would we ever know? Maybe long-time Birmingham resident Bill Shaffer (age 71), arrested on federal child porn charges this summer, can comment on that.