BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. — The West Virginia State Police say the best defense against child sexual predators is knowledge and vigilance. Those are two things they plan to impart to parents in a new program called PROWL, an acronym for Predator Ready Organized Watch Location.
“It’s similar to a neighborhood watch,” said Lieutenant Danny Swiger of the West Virginia State Police. “We’re going to provide training to communities and adults about predators by encouraging parents to communicate with their children about dangers of the internet and strangers they may encounter in public places.”
Swiger said the program will also be established in areas where children gather often, like public parks, playgrounds, and recreation areas. The first will be established this Sunday at the Bridgeport Recreation Complex in Harrison County.
“We’re going to place signs like we do in our Neighborhood Watch areas,” Swiger said. “Pretty much to put predators on notice we’re watching them and we’re not going to tolerate them.”
Swiger said one of the hardest things to understand about a child predator is it could be anybody. There is no true profile of a predator, therefore parents and children alike have to be on guard.
“We would want parents to recognize in public places people who seem to be out of place,” said Swiger. “Adults who are there without children and things of that sort. We just want people to be vigilant.”