BPD reports rise in unattended, wandering children

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Over the last few weeks the Beaumont police have seen an increase in calls for service involving children found wandering streets after being left home alone, according to BPD.

Officers have responded to numerous calls for service in reference to children being found wandering apartment complexes, neighborhoods, even near highways, without an adult or guardian to be found. The incidents range from children being left home alone for hours to children exiting the residence while adults/ guardians are sleeping. Children as young as 3 years old have been found roaming unsupervised at all hours of the day and night. 

The criminal offense of abandoning or endangering a child is a felony. Texas law defines “abandon” as to leave a child in any place without providing reasonable and necessary care for the child, under circumstances under which no reasonable, similarly situated adult would leave a child of that age and ability. (b) A person commits an offense if, having custody, care, or control of a child younger than 15 years, he intentionally abandons the child in any place under circumstances that expose the child to an unreasonable risk of harm.

While these incidents are investigated on a case by case basis, BPD would like to remind parents, guardians and caretakers the importance of “child-proofing” your home to prevent young children from being able to open doors & windows and accessing potentially dangerous situations. Child Protective Services also conducts investigations involving neglectful/improper supervision. 

None of the recent incidents have resulted in serious injury or death to any children. It is BPD’s hope that parents, guardians and caretakers take time to evaluate their childcare plan and check for any potential safety issues that may place children at risk.