Fort Lee Police Chief Urges Caution on Halloween, 'Beyond'
Fort Lee Police Chief Thomas O. Ripoli says there are precautions parents and children can take to ensure they remain safe on Halloween and going forward.
Fort Lee Police Chief Thomas O. Ripoli issued a statement Thursday morning urging parents to make sure their children remain safe on Halloween and beyond in light of potential cases of child luring pending in Bergen County.
The statement follows Ripoli’s comments Monday, saying Fort Lee police are ramping up patrols in order to keep the borough’s children safe.
Ripoli said Thursday that he was issuing the statement because Halloween is next week, but that parents should remain on alert at “all other times” as well.
“It’s more education-wise—what we’re doing and what [parents] should do for Halloween and all the other times,” Ripoli said.
The following is Ripoli’s statement in its entirety to the Fort Lee community:
Over the last couple of weeks, there have been several reported incidents of suspect luring in surrounding Bergen County towns. It must be noted these incidents appear not to be all similar. There are different descriptions of both the actors and the vehicles they used.
This is not to downplay the possible seriousness of the topic, but rather to get reliable information to the public. These reported luring incidents may or may not be associated. It is very possible that some incidents were legitimate requests for assistance.
I ask that all of us be aware of these incidents and take the appropriate actions if there are any suspicious incidents.
For the past week, the Fort Lee PD has put on extra patrol and undercover officers during every shift.
We will also be utilizing extra manpower on Oct. 30 and Oct. 31. Parents should accompany young children and be aware of their surroundings. Please do not let your child trick-or-treat alone.
Older children going without supervision should do so in groups. Inform your children of the safety tips below and instruct them to call the police if they see anything out of the ordinary.
Cell phones should have a speed dial number designated for 911 that is easily located by touch
Tactics used by luring suspect include:
- Asking for assistance
- The loss of a pet
- Bribery (offering the child money)
- False emergencies involving family members, or that a family member sent them to pick you up
- Asking if you need a ride
Practices to use to avoid luring suspects:
- Children are urged to travel in groups
- Children should never enter a car without the permission of a parent or guardian
- If a stranger does approach you drop anything that would slow you down. Yell loudly that you do not know this person and run to a safe location (home, trusted neighbor, school crossing guard, any public building, or if possible, advise a police officer).
- Immediately call the Fort Lee Police Department at 201-592-3776 or 911 and give them your location and ask them to respond there.
- If approached by a vehicle, run in the opposite direction that the vehicle is travelling.
For questions regarding Halloween safety, contact the Fort Lee Police Department Juvenile Bureau at 201-592-3505.