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SeaTac grandmother, police offer advice for back-to-school safety

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SEATTLE – With child predators lurking in our area, a local police department is sending this warning tonight to parents.  Talk to your kids and arm them with tools to fight back against being a victim.

Throughout the summer, Q13 News has covered several cases of young girls and women being stalked, groped, or attacked all across Western Washington.  Now the Snohomish police chief wants parents to be on high alert as they send kids back to school.

Four middle-school aged girls say they encountered a child predator who allegedly groped one of them two weeks ago.  Then another case happened shortly after.

“Approximately 11 years old, two girls, walking down the street -- a man who has a similar description as our first incident,” said Snohomish Police Chief John Flood.  “Offers both girls to take them back to his house to go in his hot tub.”

“There are so many predators,” said grandmother Jo Ann Hill.

That’s why SeaTac grandmother Jo Ann Hill says she’s giving a app to all of her grandkids.  It’s called IWitness and it’s a Seattle-based app in partnership with the Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound.

“I-W for I-Witness and right away you’ve got the record button."

“It’s for abduction, it’s for assault, it’s to really be what you would always want to have, which is someone watching over you,” said iWitness App Founder David Remer.

The data goes to a cloud that can’t be deleted or altered.  It can automatically dial 911 when you hit record.

“I had to use it a month after I installed it on my phone and it actually was a deterrent to any other crime,” said Hill.

This is who she’s really worried about her grandkids.

“You’re not always with them. You can’t always be watching them,” says Hill.

She says this app can watch out for her grandkids when she’s not around and help police solve cases.

“They wouldn’t just have a sketch to give to the police it could be an actual person that people could identify,” said Hill.

Whether it’s an app, a neighborhood watch program, or any other crime fighting or crime prevention tool, Flood says it’s up to everyone to get alleged child predators off the streets.

“I don’t like anyone that preys on young girls.  This is probably the lowest crime. This is someone who needs to be off the street,” said Flood.

The iWitness app is just one of many apps designed to help kids and adults be proactive in their own safety.  It’s a $30 a year subscription, but you can pay monthly.  Hill does not get any money or special treatment for promoting the app, she says she actually believes in it.  Hill says it’s a small price to pay for safety considering how much money people spend weekly on lattes.