Safety News Roundup: This Week’s Top Headlines

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Need to Know from SafeWise

Here's our weekly roundup of the most crucial safety news you need to know. From marauding swine and stolen hornets to cell phone bans and calls for input on kids' online safety, we've got you covered.

Stay informed, stay safe, and dive into the headlines that matter most in today's ever-evolving landscape of hazards and precautions. Your safety matters and this is where you'll find the news you need to protect what matters most.

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New York state parks undergo security review after abduction

New York state authorities are launching a comprehensive security review of over 250 park sites following the abduction of a 9-year-old girl from Moreau Lake State Park. The incident prompted concerns about park safety, leading to calls for improved security measures.

The girl was rescued after law enforcement traced a ransom note to a nearby trailer. While the exact nature of the security upgrades remains unclear, cameras have already been installed where the girl disappeared.

The New York Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation is collaborating with the State Police to conduct a thorough review and identify areas for improvement. The study will assess visibility at each park and evaluate the potential use of additional cameras and any necessary changes at main gates.

State Senator Jim Tedisco is introducing legislation to mandate security cameras at all state parks, campgrounds, and recreational facilities, emphasizing the importance of public safety. The timeline for completing the safety review has yet to be disclosed. Still, state troopers, park police officers, and forest rangers will patrol Moreau Lake State Park to reassure visitors in the wake of recent events.

Find out what to do if a child goes missing.

Cell phone ban poll highlights parents fears about safety in schools

In a recent poll by Parent magazine, parents share their divided opinions on cell phone bans in schools. While many agree on limiting cell phone usage during class, they argue against an outright ban, citing the need for quick responses in emergencies, like bomb threats and active shooter events.

News of a similar ban in the UK inspired the magazine's poll. The UK proposal requires kids to stash powered-off phones in backpacks during school hours. Some argue for a similar move in the US, but there are concerns regarding kids with health conditions who rely on phone apps and the importance of communication during an emergency.

Even teachers are divided, with some supporting phones as valuable tools and others emphasizing the need for closer management. As the debate rages on, one thing is clear: safety concerns and tech tools to address them still need to find a middle ground in schools.

Learn how to talk to kids about school shootings.
Find a kids smartphone that lets you schedule downtime during school hours.

Fred’s bacon is nearly cooked: 400-pound pig blamed for Colorado crime spree

A recent crime wave in Aurora, Colorado, had an unexpected twist when officials apprehended the unlikely culprit: a 400-pound pig named Fred. After weeks of traffic disturbances and property damage, Aurora Animal Services and the Aurora Police Department teamed up to capture the mischievous swine.

Augusta Allen, field supervisor for Aurora Animal Services, remarked, "It took a lot of puzzle pieces getting put together before we could finally solve the problem."

Fred, who now resides at the Aurora Animal Shelter, remains without an owner. Officials are on the hunt for his forever home—preferably on a farm or other suitable location—as pigs aren't allowed on most residential properties in Aurora. Fred's heartwarming journey can be tracked on the Aurora Animal Shelter's Lost & Found animals website.

See the safest cities in Colorado.

Driverless car makes hit-and-run of San Francisco woman worse

Dramatic video footage from a driverless vehicle's cameras has captured a harrowing incident in downtown San Francisco. A pedestrian was initially struck by a human-driven car at an intersection before being thrown into the path of the self-driving Cruise car.

The video, released by Cruise, shows the woman being hit by the human-driven car while crossing against a red light. After being carried on the hood for a block, she tumbled onto the pavement in front of the autonomous vehicle, which unfortunately ran her over. The human-driven car briefly paused before leaving the scene.

Because the Cruise vehicle shut down when it detected something under the rear axle, the victim was pinned under the Cruise car until firefighters and police arrived. Rescuers had to use the jaws of life to free the victim. While the victim's current condition remains unknown, Cruise has expressed concern and is cooperating with the police investigation.

This incident has opened up debate about whether human intervention could have prevented the second collision, with some highlighting the slower response times of driverless vehicles in such scenarios.

Have concerns about kids' online safety? The federal government wants to hear from you!

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) seeks public input on the internet usage of children and teens. Parents, educators, and concerned parties are encouraged to share their worries and best practices regarding online safety for young people.

This move follows the White House's commitment to address the impact of internet access on youth. The NTIA aims to understand the risks associated with kids using the internet and gather insights on mitigating those risks.

To comment, go to the regulations.gov website, search for NTIA-2023-008, and then select "comment now." The information collected may inform policy recommendations, voluntary tech company guidelines, and resources for parents. The discussion about kids' well-being online is a bipartisan concern, and this call for comments is a critical step toward addressing the complex issue of online safety for youngsters.

Read our Internet Safety Guide for Kids.

Sting operation: Thief nabs vacuum full of angry European hornets

In a bizarre twist of theft, a thief unknowingly pilfered a portable shopvac filled with hundreds of European hornets, giant queens, and yellowjackets. Don Shump, owner of Philadelphia Bee Co., discovered the theft and humorously warned the thief about the "extra spicy" consequences of their actions.

While European hornets are not as lethal as murder hornets, their sting is intensely painful. Shump hopes that the thief has yet to discover the hornets and urges them to handle the situation cautiously or reach out for assistance. His advice to anyone stung: "Take some Benadryl."

The moral of the story? "Don't steal other people's stuff—it might be filled with bees."

Rebecca Edwards
Written by
Rebecca Edwards
Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for SafeWise.com. She has been a journalist and blogger for over 25 years, with a focus on home and community safety for the past decade. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month poring over crime and safety reports and spotting trends. Her expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her expert advice and analysis in places like NPR, TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Miami Herald, HGTV, MSN, Reader's Digest, Real Simple, and an ever-growing library of podcast, radio and TV clips in the US and abroad.

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