'Stranger Danger' campaign pushed by Champaign County sheriff


CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill. (WAND) - As the temperatures rise, the Champaign County Sheriff's Office warns the public to be aware of their surroundings. 

Deputies in Champaign County say a teenage girl was followed by someone as she jogged.

Tuesday afternoon, near Dobbins and Roland Street, the girl was approached multiple times by a man in a silver car. Champaign County Sheriff Dan Walsh says the man gestured her to get in. That is when she called authorities. 

"It happens a little bit more in the summer because people are outside much more often," Walsh says. "I  would say two, three, maybe four times a year we have a situation where someone tries to entice a kid to a vehicle." 

Walsh says a person should run if they're followed in a public park, try to stay in well lit areas and also use the buddy system.

Fleet Feet employee Shawn VanDolah says being aware of your surroundings is very important. 

"Safety in numbers is a real thing but also, having something on you to help defend yourself and carrying your cell phone always while running," VanDolah says. "In the store, we carry mace, pepper spray ... something that can easily deter someone from coming at you or give you enough time to get away."

According to VanDolah, even listening to music while running can be dangerous. 

"Having head phones in your ears are a big thing," VanDolah says. "A lot of times you listen to your music too loud and you're not able to hear if someone came up on you."

Anyone with information is asked to call the Champaign County Sheriff's Office.

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