ABC 15 News reports that the unidentified boy dialed 911 after he saw two men at his back porch who later broke in. Fast thinking prompted the young man to hide in a closet and stay on the phone with a 911 operator as assailants made their way through the house. Fortunately police arrived at the scene and were able to make an arrest, but not before the 12-year-old came face-to-face with the intruders.
"Please don't hurt me," the boy told the robbers.
Luckily they didn't, and the two criminals fled shortly after the encounter.
We can only imagine how scared this 12-year-old boy was as he hid in the closet during this entire ordeal. It's bad enough to think about the what-if scenario of your home being robbed, but with your child all alone? Chills. Thankfully this boy was unharmed, and the police were able to get there in time to make an arrest, but with more than 2 million home burglaries occurring each year in this country (most during the day), it's definitely a reminder to have a discussion with our children about being home alone and ways they can stay safe.
The National SAFE KIDS Campaign advises that children under age 12 should not be left without adult supervision. Latchkey age restrictions vary greatly by state and even cities and counties. Arizona, the state where this incident occurred, does not have a minimum age for a child to stay home alone. Parents should check with the Department of Health Services in their state for up-to-date information. And remember, just because your child meets the minimum age requirement doesn't mean they're emotionally prepared to stay home alone. Use your judgment to make the best decision for your family.
Before you do choose to leave them alone, speak to them about things they can do to stay safe in an unexpected situation. KidsHealth recommends you discuss when to dial 911, having a working knowledge of the home security system, making sure all the doors are locked and turning lights on to make it look like someone is home.
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