CHICAGO (CBS) — A puppy. A cute puppy may be all it takes for a stranger to lure a child away.
This weekend, prankster Joey Salads posted a YouTube video showing how he earned kids’ trust by letting them pet his dog. Within seconds, each child shown in the video clasped Salads’ outstretched hand and walked away with him as their shocked mothers look on. “Over 700 children are abducted a day,” he claims.
Not everyone is convinced that we should be fearful.
Lenore Skenazy of Free-Range Kids, a movement “fighting the belief that our children are in constant danger from creeps,” calls Salads’ assertion of 700 abductions a day “interesting.”
Says Skenazy, “If 700 kids actually were taken by strangers on a daily basis, that would be closing in on 1% of all kids under age 9. So if you sent your kid to a grammar school with 500 kids, by fifth grade your child would have witnessed 25 kids — a classroom full — kidnapped the way they are on “Law & Order.”
She asserts that U.S. Department of Justice puts the number of abductions at 115—per year. “The Department of Justice reports that of the 800,000 children reported “missing” in the United States each year, 115 are the result of “stereotypical kidnapping” — a stranger snatching the child. About 90 percent of abductees return home within 24 hours and the vast majority are teenage runaways.”
The reaction on Twitter, for the most part, seems in favor of Salads, with relatively few people accusing him of exaggeration or fear mongering.