TikTok hand signal led to girls’ rescue from alleged kidnappers. Now the police want more attention – WCCO

BETHEL PARK, Pa. (KDKA-TV) – People use a hand gesture that says “I need help” to warn friends, family and even law enforcement about a violent situation without warning their addicts. The signal, popular on TikTok, is now spreading across local police departments.

This week, a 16-year-old girl learned the hand signal on TikTok, and police say it saved her life. She is now safe with her suspected kidnapper in jail.

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“So it’s a very simple tool that you can use, and one of the things that really inspired it is, when people live with abuse or violence, the person who does the abuse often monitors their emails. , their cell phones, “said Suzanne Duncan, vice president of philanthropy for the Canadian Women’s Foundation.

(Photo: Canadian Women’s Foundation)

These are all the things we trusted during the pandemic. Suzanne Duncan says the Canadian Women’s Foundation created the signal in April last year. It posted a video promoting the new hand gesture, and it went viral on TikTok. “We knew there would be an increase in gender-based violence because when there is a disruption or natural disaster, we unfortunately see the number of gender-based violence increase worldwide,” Duncan told KDKA-TV.

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TikTok users grabbed the signal and started spreading the message. The news of the hand gesture landed on Chief Timothy O’Connor’s desk Tuesday. “I received it this morning via email from the IACP, the International Association of the Chiefs of Police,” O’Connor said. “They sent a daily summary of law enforcement articles to executives around the world.”

Top story today? The 16-year-old girl, blinking her hand, eventually escaped her accused kidnapper when someone recognized the gesture and called 911. “Before reading this article this morning, I was not aware that there was such a gesture,” he said. O’Connor. “I think it’s a good thing to come up with it as an emergency signal to warn the public.”

He said if you see the signal in our area, write down these few things: “A description of the passengers in that vehicle and especially the person making the gesture, and description of that vehicle, including a plate, if you can get that, and direction of travel. “

He tells KDKA that he brings this knowledge to his department.

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“I want to warn our officers here at Bethel Park and also our Crime Watch group, we meet once a month and we also have a monthly email that we send out to over 1,000 residents who have signed up for it, so we will have the floor, ”he said.

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