Berkeley police are investigating an attempted kidnapping near an elementary school

Berkeley school officials and police issued a warning on Tuesday following an attempted kidnapping of a student near an elementary school on Monday afternoon.

The incident involved an unidentified suspect driving a white van or SUV who approached the student outside Ruth Acty Elementary School on Monday, according to a letter from the Berkeley Unified School District to the school community.

Fortunately, the student involved in the incident is safe and unharmed, the school district confirmed.

The Berkeley Police Department is treating the incident as an attempted kidnapping. The student was approached while walking on Rose Street, and the suspect asked the student if they wanted to get into their vehicle, the district explained.

Thankfully, the student did not enter the vehicle but instead ran home.

Berkeley police advise that if a student feels they are being followed, they should immediately head toward the nearest crowded area and call 911 for assistance.

The district also provided other safety tips for children walking to and from school:

  • Try to stay in a group. Always walk with at least one friend, but two or three is even better.
  • If a stranger offers you a ride, say “NO!” and stay far away from their car.
  • If a stranger follows you on foot, get away from them as quickly as possible. You can run and shout loudly, “HELP!”
  • If a stranger follows you in a car, turn around and go the other way.
  • Never leave school with a stranger.
  • Inform a trusted adult if a stranger is loitering around the school, playground, or other public areas where children gather, including restrooms.
  • Never accept anything from a stranger while walking to or from school.
  • If a stranger asks you a question, do not respond. Run away.

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