Officials offer tips to reduce kidnapping risk | News, Sports, Jobs

News File Photo A Michigan State Police squad car is seen in Alpena in this May 2020 news archive photo.

ALPENA – The rise in high-profile crime is proving to be worrying, local law enforcement officials say.

“What concerns me is the seriousness of the crimes that have been committed recently,” Alpena County Sheriff Erik Smith said, mentioning, among other things, a recent alleged arson attack and a recent alleged kidnapping attempt. “This is relatively new in our area.”

One such incident — a suspected kidnapping attempt by an 8-year-old girl in her backyard earlier this month — caught the attention of law enforcement and local and national media when Owen Burns — the teenage brother of the alleged victim — fended off the attempt by telling the 17-year-old boy -year-old Noah Adkins in the head and chest with a slingshot.

Adkins was later found and identified at a nearby gas station with head and chest wounds and taken into custody.

In this situation, the children involved in the alleged abduction attempt were safe and behaved as they should have to protect themselves, Spl/Lt. Derrick Carroll, Michigan State Police information officer in the 7th Circuit, said.

However, Carroll said kidnapping is a crime of convenience and there is always uncertainty as to where, when and how a person determined to commit such an act might attempt to do so.

That’s why it’s important, he said, to take steps to stay safe, including avoiding eye contact with strangers and having an exit strategy if a situation feels uncomfortable.

Carroll gave the following tips that people of all ages can follow to protect themselves from potential kidnappers.

∫Be aware of your surroundings

∫Do not make eye contact with people you do not know

∫Don’t come across as a victim

∫Always maintain a contingency plan

∫Plan to call for help if needed

∫Let friends and family know where you’ll be

Carroll said there are also many apps people can use on their phones to share their location with friends and family.

“It’s a crime of opportunity, and people who exhibit and are prone to deviant behavior will take advantage of it,” Carroll said. “All kidnappings are treated the same until we find out what’s going on, but usually a kidnapping means someone’s life is in danger.”

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