Cicero Police, Neighborhood Watch Team Up In Outreach to Parents and Schoolchildren

Cicero’s Police Department and Neighborhood Watch program have teamed up to teach the next generation of Ciceronians to stay safe and seek help when in danger.

The two groups visited area preschools to provide basic safety tips for schoolchildren, including providing workshops to parents and staff on Internet safety and the threat of cyberbullying and other types of online crime.

“To keep our town safe, we need to do more than just stop crime as it is happening,” said Cicero Police Superintendent Jerry Chlada, Jr. “We also need to build a foundation of understanding and trust with residents and children so they know what to do and who to go to if something happens.”

On top of learning about the roles of police and what to do when a stranger approached, the preschool kids were able to sit in the police cars and explore the various knobs, switches and other gadgets that go into keeping Cicero safe.

“We partnered with several different agencies to focus on proving the right kind of tips to the kids in a way that we hope will stick with them,” said Vincent Acevez, Commander of Cicero’s Gang Crimes Unit.

Those organizations include the Cicero Youth Task Force, All Our Kids early childhood networks, Safety Patrol and the Town of Cicero.

Chlada said it is important children are exposed to the positive work a police officer does throughout the town so they are not afraid to approach them if they find themselves into trouble.

“It’s about starting a positive realtionship early on,” Chlada said. “As we continue into 2017, we want to make sure kids and parents alike are a part of keeping this town safe. That’s why we encourage parents to bring their kids to our Neighborhood Watch meetings and continue to have events like these.”

Neighborhood Watch meetings are held monthly at various locations (see calendar). Local businesses provide refreshments for residents, parents and children who attend.

Safety Tips For Children

  • Know your name, address, and phone number(s).
  • Learn how and when to call 911.
  • If you are scared of someone, RUN to safety.
  • It’s OK to be RUDE to a grown-up if you feel you are unsafe.
  • Learn the difference between an “OK” secret and a “NOT OK” secret and beware of an adult that asks you to keep a secret from parents.
  • Have a “Call List” and know how and when to use it.
  • Don’t let anyone on the phone or at the door know that you are home alone.
  • If you ever get lost in a mall, ask the closest store clerk for help and then stay where you are until you are found.
  • Avoid shortcuts when you are walking from one place to another.
  • If you are ever “scooped,” scream, kick, bite and FIGHT as hard as you can to get away! NEVER trust what the “scooper” tells you.
  • Tell your parents or a trusted adult if someone is asking you to do something that makes you feel uncomfortable. Listen to your “Uh Oh” voice.
  • Always ask your parents for permission before getting on the Internet.