The is asking the community to be on alert after receiving a report Wednesday morning of a stranger approaching a 9-year-old girl while she was on her way to school, police said.
The girl was in the area of Grandview Court and Huntington Drive in Algonquin when a white male stepped out of his car and asked her if she wanted a ride, according to an press release.
The girl was able to run and safely make it to her nearby school where she reported the incident, according to the news release.
The white male — whose age is not known — was described as having a gray and black beard and was wearing glasses and a dark blue baseball cap "with something white on the front." The type of vehicle was not known but it is described as a black, four-door vehicle.
Police have stepped up patrol efforts throughout the area as they continue to investigate the report and are asking the public to report any suspicious incidents. The 's phone number is 847-658-4531.
Be Alert — Review Safety Plan With Children
Police are encouraging residents to be alert and to remind their children about the importance of being aware of strangers.
"We are asking parents to reaffirm the fact, that a child should never get in any vehicle with an adult who is not their parent, unless it is prearranged as part of that child’s safety plan," according to the press release.
In an email to District 300 parents Wednesday, Safety Officer Gary Chester wrote that families and children should not concentrate on the description given of the stranger or the vehicle in Wednesday's incident as the sole way of protecting themselves.
"Strangers offering rides or asking for help from children can come in either sex, be old, young or of any nationality or race. They may drive old or new cars, pickups, trucks or vans," according to Chester's e-mail.
The following points can be discussed with children to help encourage safety:
- Don't talk to strangers who try to talk to you on the way home.
- If the stranger continues trying to talk to you or stops the vehicle, run home or run to the nearest public place and immediately tell an adult what has happened.
- Never walk up to the car of a stranger, and never go with a stranger.
- It is best not to walk alone. Walk with a friend or a group of students.
- If you have a cellphone, call 911 immediately.
- Try to remember as much as you can about the stranger and vehicle.
Three Reports in January
Wednesday's report is not the first made this year about strangers approaching children. In January, three such reports were made.
The was reported Jan. 3 in Carpentersville, when an 11-year-old boy was waiting at his bus stop near the Silverstone subdivision. He reportedly was approached by two Hispanic men between 20 and 30 years of age.
The , when a 13-year-old girl was walking to her bus stop on Teton Parkway near Glacier Parkway in Algonquin. She reportedly was approached by one Hispanic male between 30 and 35 years of age.
About 3:43 p.m. Jan. 31, police received a report of a 10-year-old boy who was approached by a Hispanic man between 30 and 35 years old in the Algonquin Lake subdivision. The boy was walking home from a friend's house at the time.
The man asked the boy to get inside his vehicle, which is described as a white, cargo-style "E" series Ford van.