Over the last several weeks, reports of child luring attempts have been abundant.
Dormont, Carnegie, Wexford, Freedom, Knoxville, Point Breeze and the city’s North Side include areas where the alleged incidents have happened.
Some reports have slight variations but police say all remain active investigations.
“We don’t want them to just be paranoid, as I said, about every time somebody gets near them, but they do need to be cautious and they need to just be alert,” Diane Brown, of Safety Kids, said.
Brown says many children have been made aware of the incidents, but along with the legitimate child luring reports there have been at least two hoaxes.
A 15-year-old late for school too many times told police he was followed by a white van near Westwood Elementary School.
Tuesday in Northview Heights, a 9-year-old made up a story about a man chasing him that lit up police radios.
“It’s a shame,” Brown said. “Those children are crying out for something whether it be attention or whatever else it be at that moment in their life.”
Not only that – it’s harmful to everyone involved.
“It takes the police away – they’re very valuable, their time is valuable, they don’t need to be following after something that’s not legitimate and it makes other people more fearful.”
Filing a false report is usually a chargeable offense. In the cases of the two boys, detectives sat down with them and their parents emphasizing that hoaxes will not be tolerated. They also wanted to check and see if the boys were experiencing any other problems.