Parental paranoia: White van child-snatchers ‘an urban myth’

Swedish police: white van child-snatchers ‘an urban myth’ – The Local.

Swedish police have confirmed that rumours of a man driving around in a white van seeking to snatch kids from schools in the Stockholm areas is nothing more than an ‘urban myth’.

“We have heard about a white transit van for some ten years, but this has much to do with the fact that this is the most common type of van. I am convinced that there is no particular person in a particular white van looking for children,” detective inspector Ludvig Sandberg told the Dagens Nyheter daily.

Australian criminologists came to the same conclusion in 2009 and explained that the stories play on parents’ greatest fears and thus easily generate hysteria, according to reported on ABC news.

Swedish police were able to confirm last year that not one single crime of this type was on record connected to the existence of a white transit van.

Tip: Fortean Times

This is common. People pass on these kinds of urban legends because they sound plausible and to do so feels like you are “protecting the children”. But they do harm, making kids and parents afraid of the wrong things and possible limiting the child’s activities from an unsubstantiated fear. Remember when you were a kid and you could go out and play where ever? There was not the hysterical overprotection that there is now. Teach your kids to be wary of things that feel unusual. Show them what to do in case a stranger approaches them, but don’t be scared of everything. That’s no good for anyone.