By Brooke Greene / Staff Writer
Recent attempts of child abduction have been reported in Hutchinson.
These attempts are potentially linked to sex trafficking, which has been covered in news. Two abductions have so far been reported to the Hutchinson Police Department, one involving an 11-year-old girl, who escaped her attacker by hiding behind a building in a nearby alley while awaiting help.
This case is still under investigation, with a vague description of the suspect being a 6-foot male, wearing a black outfit and a black mask, the incident occurred in the 400 block of E. 6th Avenue, according to KAKE News.
Another similar incident occurred at the Kwik Shop at 1401 East 4th Avenue where a 3-year-old boy was nearly snatched from his mother’s vehicle shortly after being put into her car seat. The mother saw a glance of hands reaching for her child, she yelled and the suspect took off. This suspect was wearing gray sweatpants and a black sweatshirt.
These attempts are likely the first of many, which should cause an increased sense of observation. Being aware of one’s surroundings is a vital key to safety and security. There is a trail of other attempts that have targeted younger women in parking lots and gas stations throughout the Wichita area. Attackers are using ever-improving tactics to lure women away from their vehicles. Two of the most reported have been the placement of a piece of paper in the back of the windshield of the vehicle and the strategic placement of what appears to be money, to lure the victim into a sense of luck so they will “willingly” depart from the safety of their driver’s seat to investigate. When one falls for such a malicious attempt, danger strikes and the abduction falls into play.
Young college women have noticed the risks and are taking action.
“I carry pepper spray, as well as a stun gun. I carry them, because as a girl I feel very unsafe in today’s world,” said Britt Blair, a Pretty Prairie native. “Girls are getting trafficked more than ever now it’s sickening and so scary. It is scary walking out of the grocery store. I have yet to use it. It makes me feel safer. Yes, I wish I could carry a handgun in my purse but can’t until I am at least 21. I do feel unsafe in Hutch, very much so, but it’s life and girls just have to be very observant. I feel super safe on campus.”
Not every woman is confident enough to deploy less than lethal means of self-defense in fear of repercussions. This especially applies to the younger generations that may not have the ability to defend themselves with tools such as small knives that may be concealable such as lipstick, combs, or pens; pepper spray, monkey knuckles, and stun guns. There is a wide variety of keychains made to assist self-defense that can be purchased in shops, such as the local Sharp N’ Shiny.
“I usually have my keys that have a ball-bearing keychain for self-defense, and occasionally my taser. I don’t like walking around by myself at any time,” said Emma Wright, Little River freshman. “It just makes me feel uncomfortable. I feel like my age group is a big target for this kind of stuff, and I don’t think most girls are prepared or know what to do in that situation. Girls just need to stay alert and stay together.”