By Alexis R. Milan
Orange Walk police have increased their number of mobile and foot patrols in school zones since reports this week of two separate kidnapping attempts of students attending La Inmaculada RC Primary School.
Orange Walk police say they are treating the matter very seriously and have posted foot patrols around school zones to compliment their mobile patrols, which include motorcycle patrols to increase police visibility and reaction times in those areas.
Police say they only have a general descriptions of a white van without license plates, so they are appealing to the public to be vigilant and report any vehicle matching the description or anything suspicious that they may observe.
La Inmaculada RC Primary School Principal, Manuel Polanco told The Reporter that since the incidents they had started sensitizing their students to the dangers of interacting with strangers and had asked parents to make arrangements to ensure their children’s security. According to Polanco, more parents have started to personally drop off and pick up their children from school since the scare.
Polanco also indicated that the school brought in a counselor to talk to the two students who were targeted in both incidents. While the students are still traumatized by the experience, they have been getting the proper attention and support and they are doing just fine, Polanco said.
In both incidents the students, ages 10 and 11 were walking back to school after 12:30 when they were approached.
In the first instance on Monday, according to Polanco, the student said that the driver of the car was wearing a mask and ordered the girl with threats to get in the car. Polanco said he was alarmed because it took place near the police station by the Banquitas House of Culture, just a short distance away from the school.
In Tuesday’s incident the driver of the vehicle actually tried to pull a little girl into the white van, in front of the stop light near a Scotiabank branch, but she was able to break free and run to safety, Polanco said.
Polanco added that he was not certain whether or not both attempts were done by the same person in different vehicles or if there are multiple culprits on the loose but he warned parents to remain vigilant of their children