We should all protect kidsAs they watch video of the attempted rape of a young girl in Ilsan and see headlines about the slayings of two Anyang schoolgirls, parents are extremely nervous. What drove the suspects to commit such brutal crimes appeared to be their personalities and history of illness. Investigations also showed that the suspects did not have a clear target for their crime. Parents are uneasy, because their children can be victims at any time.
While the police failed to stop the crimes, the number of crimes against children ranging from kidnapping to rape and murder grows year by year. It is the reality that we depend mainly on the police to protect our children. We find hope, however, in the efforts of local governments and civic groups.
The number of missing children under 14 was 2,695 in 2005, but that number skyrocketed to 8,602 last year. As their fates remain unknown, parents’ hearts ache and many families collapse in agony. The number of sex crimes against children remains steady at 1,000 a year.
Facing this grim reality, the North Jeolla Education Office launched a guidance group for youth with 100 parents. The group monitors the students on their way to and from school.
Suncheon, South Jeolla yesterday launched “Tiger Grandfathers,” with 206 elderly members over 65 years old assigned to protect children. More and more volunteer groups around the nation are offering support to regional governments.
In Japan, local governments encouraged store owners and elderly neighbors to monitor children on their way to and from school.
We believe a network of thousands of civic groups will contribute greatly in preventing crimes against children. The Green Mothers’ Associations at elementary schools, whose members monitor children to prevent traffic accidents, can play an important role.
Kidnapping and sexual crimes against children can take place anytime, anywhere. If police cannot handle their prevention alone, we should step up to help them do the job.