ST. LOUIS – The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children urges parents to rethink stranger danger.

In Kirkwood, police received calls for two separate incidents. They said a man tried to lure a girl into his minivan near North Geyer Road and Essex Avenue, and that the man tried it with a different girl. They have the man in custody, but the neighborhood is shaken.

“It’s terrifying, thankfully nothing happened to anyone,” Gloria Paez said. She has two children. “It makes me not want to let the kids outside to play in the front yard or the back yard. You just never know; you just never know.”

“It is scary to think that anyone anywhere could be a victim,” parent Bob Westerholt said. “But unfortunately, that’s the state of things right now.”

The NCMEC urges parents to change how they teach kids to protect themselves. For example, rather than say, “Stay away from people you don’t know,” say, “It is important you get my permission before going anywhere with anyone.”

The center offers the KidSmartz program for parents, caregivers, and teachers. Click here for more safety suggestions.