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Police encourage talking to kids about stranger danger, more children walking home

TRI-CITIES, Wash. -- Police said with the warmer weather, more students are walking to and from school.

Now they're reminding parents to talk with their children about stranger danger.

Kevin Gray always walks with his daughter Kimberly home from school, side by side and hand in hand.

He said he sees a lot of potential dangers around and wants his daughter to be safe.

"If anything did happen, I would be very upset. It would be like I've lost the most important things in my life," said Kevin Gray, a local father of two.

Police departments are encouraging parents to talk to their kids about how to be safe.

“[That means] not talking to people they don't know and not diverting from their route or stopping at a friend’s house. Just go straight home and just communicate," said Sgt. Scott Warren of the Pasco Police Department.

Police said to never walk alone.

“Walk with a neighbor or someone that may live down the street, or brother or sister. Walking in a group is going to be safer," said Warren.

Pasco police said they team up with the school district to map out the safest routes for schools.

"Make sure your kids are aware of these routes. Stick to the routes so that way the parents will know they're somewhere along this particular route," said Warren.

If your child is approached by someone they don't know, this is what police say they should do.

"Don't stop and talk to them. If it persists maybe yell and scream or go straight to the nearest door of a residence that they’re walking by. Run right up there and pound on the door and ask for help," added Warren.

For a list of those safe routes for kids in the Pasco School District, you can go to their website.

The Kennewick School District says they always are evaluating where buses drop of kids, making sure the area is safe.

Police said if you see anything or anyone suspicious in your neighborhood, report it immediately.

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