West Seattle parent take precautions in advance of Halloween

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by HEATHER GRAF / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @HeatherGrafK5

KING5.com

Posted on October 24, 2013 at 10:51 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 24 at 10:56 PM

After five reports of flashing incidents and a possible attempted abduction, all near schools in West Seattle, parents say they will be vigilant, but not afraid.

The latest scare came Thursday afternoon, when an elementary school student called 911 to report a person being duct taped and thrown in a truck.

Seattle Police swarmed the area near Gatewood Elementary School, and spent several hours searching for the suspect, described as a white man in his 30's or 40's, driving a big, silver pick-up truck.

As of Thursday evening, detectives had found no evidence of an actual abduction, but say it's something they are taking seriously.  That, combined with five flashings reported in recent weeks, has left parents feeling unsettled.

"Fear and worry for my children, and for all the children in this community," said Sara Elkington.

She was one of several parents KING 5 spoke with at a fall festival held at the High Point Community Center, who say scary incidents like this are uncommon in West Seattle.

They say it's especially concerning with Halloween now just one week away, and kids expected to be walking up and down the streets on that night.

Parent Stephanie Jones says her initial instinct is to keep her seven-year-old home, where she can keep an eye on her and guarantee her safety.

At the same time, she says she refuses to let a stranger keep them from living their lives, on Halloween night and beyond.

"All I can do, instead of living in fear, is to really empower her, and giver her the information and tools to stay safe," she said.  "Training her, informing her, and making her aware that these things happen, and this is what you're supposed to do, these are things you don't do."

It's something she hopes other parents will do as well - be cautious and pro-active, but not afraid.  She says that's the only way they can take back their community from predators.

"Back in the day, we didn't have these concerns, but now it is just a reality," she said.

Seattle Police are asking business or homeowners in the area near Gatewood Elementary who may have surveillance systems or video footage from Thursday afternoon to contact police right away.

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