Pickerington Mother Helping To Launch Safe House Program To Protect Children

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A local mother is turning to social media and counting on the honesty of others to keep neighborhood children safe.

The effort comes after she said police responded to a number of incidents involving children in the Preston Trails and Sycamore Creek communities.

Jennifer Kevelder is a busy mother of two who lives in the quiet Sycamore Creek subdivision, a neighborhood where everyone keeps a close eye on their surroundings.

Kevelder said that a recent posting on the Neighborhood Block Watch page and police warning of a possible child enticement case inspired her to spearhead a “safe house” campaign.

Homeowners participating in the campaign would have to pass a police background check and then post “safe house” stickers on their homes. The stickers would let children in peril know that the house is safe if they are too far from home to get help.

“If my daughter is out riding her bike and someone is following her, she knows that that house with that sticker on the window is my safe place,” Kevelder said. “I can't make it home, I can go there.”

Pickerington police said that they were in the very early stages of working with Preston Trails Block Watch on this issue.

Pickerington Police Chief Michael Taylor said that he believes they are on the right track, but feels there is still more work to be done in knowing who your neighbors are.

“Just because they get fingerprinted doesn't constitute them being a safe environment for the kid,” Taylor said.

Taylor said that some background checks do not cover all bases and encouraged parents to be hyper-vigilant. He said that neighbors on the safe house list should be “like family.”

“It takes all of us working together and watching out for each other,” Kevelder said. “I hate to admit I don't know all my neighbors names.”

Police encourage anyone with questions about the safe house plan to call them directly.

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