Everyone's favorite crime dog, McGruff, has a powerful safety message for children (and their parents). Since 1980, McGruff has been getting out the word that crime prevention is everyone's business. As McGruff says we can all do our part to "take a bite out of crime." For more information on McGruff and his history, visit

For information on using McGruff in a presentation, contact the Pottawattamie County Sheriff's Office at 890-2200 to schedule a presentation for your community or organization.

McGruff Educational Page

A Word About... Reinforcing Good Safety Habits

Children are naturally trusting. It can be hard to teach them to balance this trust with caution. But children today need to know common-sense rules that can help keep them safe, and they need to build the self-confidence to handle emergencies effectively. As a caregiver you can:

  • Make sure children know their full name, address (including city and state), and phone number (including area code). Be sure they know how to call "9-1-1" or "0" (operator) in emergencies. Practice making emergency calls with a make-believe or a disconnected phone.
  • Remind children never to talk to strangers or accept rides or gifts from strangers. Young children tend to think that strangers are ugly, scary people who wear black hats and lurk in the dark. Clarify that a stranger is anyone parent and child don't know well and don't trust.
  • Take time to listen carefully to a child's fears and feelings about people or places that scare him or make him feel uneasy. Tell him to trust his instincts. Let the child know he can tell you anything, and that you'll be supportive.
  • Encourage children to stay with friends, not play alone. Always know where your child is, what she is doing, and who she is with.
  • Make sure children are taking the safest routes to and from school, stores, and friends' houses. Walk the routes together and point out places to go for help. Encourage children to tell an adult - you, a teacher, a neighbor, a police officer - about anything that doesn't seem quite right.
  • Remind children that no one - not even a teacher or close relative - has the right to touch them in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable, and that the right thing to do is say no, get away, and tell an adult who will help them.
  • Discuss with children the things that pose special dangers in your community

Help your child review needed home security skills:

  • Have him check in with you or a neighbor when he gets home. Agree on rules for having friends over and for going to a friend's house when no adult is home.
  • Tell her not to let anyone into the home without your permission, and never to let a caller at the door or on the phone known there's no adult at home. She can say her parents are busy and take a message.

McGruff® and the "Take a Bite out of Crime®" slogan are registered marks of the National Crime Prevention Council.

National Crime Prevention Council


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